Lawyers for Kilpatrick, Ferguson want criminal trial moved out of Detroit

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Lawyers for Kwame Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson said today that they want the former mayor's criminal trial moved out of Detroit.

The surprising request--which Judge Nancy Edmunds called "premature"--came as a result of a Monday newspaper story that reported on the lone holdout juror in the Bobby Ferguson trial from earlier this year.  The newspaper reported that that juror was not truthful about the criminal histories of her family when she went through the jury selection process for that trial.

Had she been more forthcoming, it is possible that the government would have elected to challenge her as a juror on the case.  As 7 Action News reported earlier, that juror was the only one who voted not to convict Ferguson on several charges.

Defense lawyers railed against that story for 45 minutes in court today, saying it was grounds for moving the trial out of Detroit.  Attorney Gerald Evelyn, who represents Ferguson, said they story was a warning shot to jurors for this trial that their lives will be front page news if they find the defendants not guilty.

Attorney Jim Thomas echoed Evelyn's concerns.

"There will be consequences of a not guilty verdict," said Thomas, who represents Kwame Kilpatrick.

Judge Nancy Edmunds did not entertain the request at today's hearing, saying that unlike the jurors in the Ferguson trial, the identities of the jurors in this trial are anonymous.

She instructed defense lawyers to file a formal motion requesting the venue change; the judge will hear the motion on Thursday. Opening statements in the case have been moved to Friday.

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