Kilpatrick defense focuses on contracts in cross examination of key government witness

DETROIT (WXYZ) - The defense went after a government witness in the Kilpatrick corruption case, attacking his credibility Monday.

This was Avinash Rachmale's third day on the stand.

Bobby Ferguson's defense lawyer aggressively questioned the owner of Lakeshore Engineering about a man the defense is alleging worked for both the city and Rachmale – and they accused Rachmale of using his friend to get the inside track on city contracts.

Rachmale has been telling the jury that he put Bobby Ferguson on lucrative city water department contracts – just so the former mayor's pal wouldn't kill Rachmale's deals.

Kwame Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick, and Ferguson are all on trial, accused of running a criminal enterprise out of city hall.

Before the Thanksgiving Break, federal prosecutors showed the jury check after check that Rachmale wrote to Ferguson – allegedly for little or no work.

Rachmale owns Lakeshore Toltest, which used to be known as Lakeshore Engineering.

During cross examination, Ferguson lead attorney Gerald Evelyn once again pointed out that many payments made by Rachmale to Ferguson were to buy Ferguson out of a contract.

Federal prosecutors have said the Kilpatrick Enterprise instilled a climate of fear in Detroit – where contractors felt like they had to pay or hire Ferguson or else lose city business. Evelyn pointed out how Lakeshore hired Ferguson willingly to help with emergency water main repairs.

Then the defense went for the jugular with Rachmale – questioning him about his friend Dilip Patel, a supervisor in the city Building Safety and Engineering Department. Evelyn suggested Patel helped give Rachmale the inside track and asked why Rachmale had given Patel a Lakeshore Engineering cell phone, company email and key cards to the building that houses Rachmale's various companies.

Rachmale didn't have many answers – except to say Patel had been his friend for years, and admitted that when the city started asking questions about his relationship with Patel, he directed his staff to shut down Patel's email ID.

Meanwhile, Rachmale had also testified that it was Bernard Kilpatrick who at one point told him to talk to Ferguson about why two of his city contracts got cancelled. Today, Bernard Kilpatrick's attorney John Shea pointed out that in Rachmale's FBI interviews and grand jury testimony, he had said someone else told him to seek out Ferguson.

"All we can do is try everyday to try to demonstrate the other side of the story," said Shea.

Rachmale will likely still be on the stand again tomorrow.

And as health ailments have certainly been an issue in this trial – with jurors at various points getting sick - it seems the sniffles have definitely spread to the defense table.

Kwame Kilpatrick definitely seemed visibly ill on Monday.

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