Day 28: Defense suggests government witness had insidetrack to city business

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Earlier today, 7 Action News Investigator Ross Jones blogged from day 28 of the Kwame Kilpatrick corruption trial.  Follow along below:

12:56--Over: And with that, we're done for the day.  Evelyn says he's done questioning Rachmale, which means we've got one more defense lawyer (Jim Thomas) who has the chance to cross-examine Rachmale.  

12:48--Cover-up? Evelyn is suggesting--though not introducing evidence at the moment--that Rachmale tried to cover-up the fact that he was employing a City of Detroit building inspector once it became publicly known, like shutting down his company e-mail account and clearing out his Lakeshore office. 

12:42--Double-duty? Ferguson's lawyer Gerald Evelyn is asking Rachmale about a City of Detroit building inspector who worked for both the building department, as well as Lakeshore Engineering. The suggestion here: that Rachmale had an inside-source at the City to funnel him business and, also, that he isn't a choir boy. 

Rachmale identified him as a "friend."

12:25--Kilpatrick hurting? I'm not a doctor--as if I needed to remind anyone--but Kwame Kilpatrick appears to be in pain.  As we noted earlier, he's been sniffling and coughing throughout the trial, and he seems to be massaging his temples while seated at the defense table. 

12:00--End in sight? Rachmale's been on the stand for three days, but it was just mentioned that his testimony may wind up today.

11:45--Serious growth: In 2002, when Kilpatrick was elected mayor, Rachmale says that Lakeshore Engineering was a $12 to $15 million company.  By 2010, it was a half-billion dollar company. 

11:30--Bobby saves the day: Evelyn is reminding Rachmale of a job where Ferguson stepped in to perform some emergency work on behalf of Lakeshore before the Detroit City Council even approved a change order for the work.  This goes to an argument Evelyn has made several times before: that Ferguson was so good at what he did, Lakeshore routinely relied on him.  

11:07--Ferguson bids: Ferguson attorney Gerald Evelyn is showing Rachmale a series of bid scores that show Bobby Ferguson's proposals on some city jobs were deemed #1 by the City of Detroit, while Lakeshore ranked lower.  It's not clear what Evelyn is trying to show here, other than to show that the city scored Ferguson's work highly. 

10:55--Cold & flu season: Lots of sniffles, sneezes and coughs in the courtroom this morning. Many have come from defendant Kwame Kilpatrick, but other lawyers (on both sides) appear to be showing the effects of possibly a cold.  This trial has seen its fair share of delays.  Let's hope it's not slowed down by the common cold. 

10:25--Short break: Stay with us.

10:10--Kilpatrick ill? Several times throughout today's testimony, Kwame Kilpatrick has coughed very loudly into his arm and sometimes rested his head on the defense table.  It seems a little more serious than just water going down the wrong tube.  We'll see if he needs a break. 

9:45--Memory issues: In 2010, Shea points out that Rachmale testified that it was Pery Metha, not Bernard Kilpatrick, who told him to meet with Bobby Ferguson about city work.  Previously, Rachmale said it was the Mayor's father who told him to hook-up with Ferguson on work.  Rachmale admits it's been many years and his memory may be a little off.

9:35--Bernard working: Rachmale testified that, after Bernard Kilaptrick was paid $2,500 for consulting, he actually did no other work.  But Bernard Kilpatrick's lawyer John Shea points out that Rachmale's former co-worker Thomas Hardiman testified earlier that the Mayor's dad had held a few meetings with him.  So, did he earn the $2,500?  The defense says yes. 

9:26--Done for now: With that, the feds are done with direct-examination.  The defense is up next. 

9:23--Working together: Chutkow points out that in 2010, Lakeshore was still doing work with Ferguson Enterprises, but suggests it's not because they wanted to.  The job involved--known as project 671--was a continuation of an older city job from years earlier that never got finished.  Rachmale says this was done to accommodate the city, and not because his company sought out Ferguson. 

Why would he bring this up?  Perhaps to blunt an argument he expects the defense will be making soon: that Lakeshore really wanted to work with Ferguson.  

9:15--Frequents calls: Under cross-examination by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow, Rachmale says that city contractor Bobby Ferguson made calls to him more often for payment during the closing days of the Kwame Kilpatrick administration in 2008.

9:00--Welcome back: We're getting a late start today, as the former mayor and much of the prosecution was slowed down by long security lines.  Avinash Rachmale, the president of Lakeshore Engineering, is still on the witness stand.

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