Change of venue request denied; Kilpatrick trial starts tomorrow

DETROIT (WXYZ) - An eleventh-hour attempt by Kwame Kilpatrick to have his criminal trial moved out of Detroit was swiftly rejected today by Judge Nancy Edmunds.

Kilpatrick's lawyers argued today that an overly-aggressive media threatened the impartiality of the assembled jury, who would be fearful to to find the former mayor not guilty.

Edmunds said the decision to deny the motion was an easy one, adding that there was no evidence of any fears by the assembled jurors.

In its motion before the court, defense lawyers argued that "the media has made clear that there are consequences to a not guilty verdict, or even a hung jury. And this Court cannot protect jurors in this case from post-trial scrutiny."

The request came on the heels of a newspaper article on the background on the lone holdout in the Bobby Ferguson hung jury. 

The story said she wasn't completely truthful about her family's criminal history, and that she may not have been put on the Ferguson jury if she was more forthcoming.  Defense lawyers said article was a threat to all potential Kilpatrick jurors: vote to convict, or become a news story.  It was then—for the first time publicly—that defense lawyers said a fair trial in Detroit wasn't possible.

The media, says the motion, "has sent an unmistakable message that any juror not agreeing will be subjected to a full-blown investigation and a front page airing of personal secrets, relevant or otherwise."

Opening statements will begin tomorrow.

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