Powerful closing statements in Kilpatrick corruption trial
7:04 PM, Feb 14, 2013
9:05 PM, Feb 14, 2013
(WXYZ) - Powerful closing statements in the Kilpatrick corruption trial as defense attorneys for Bernard Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson argued to the jury that having a relationship with the mayor isn't a crime-- and saying they've been lied to by some of the government witnesses.
Attorney Gerald Evelyn was moved to tears as he quoted Martin Luther King Jr. in his closing arguments – and after so many months of drama in this case – the defense ended on a powerful note.
The jury was riveted as attorneys for Bobby Ferguson and Bernard Kilpatrick walked them through the complicated Kilpatrick corruption case – arguing that there was no corruption.
Veteran defense attorney Gerald Evelyn grew emotional and teared up as he made his final plea to the jury – asking them not bow to outside pressure, but to instead look at the evidence – or in his words, lack of evidence, against Ferguson.
"It's a challenging case for me, a challenging case for everybody, and it's taken a lot energy and effort," said Evelyn after his closing argument.
Evelyn said the government and the media have demonized Ferguson and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and argued that several witnesses have lied to save themselves.
Evelyn walked the jury through every contract that federal prosecutors say Ferguson either rigged or extorted other contractors for--showing them evidence that Ferguson actually did the work for the money he was paid.
He said the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department issued $5.6 Billion in contracts during the Kilpatrick administration – but only 9 of them are at issue in this case. Evelyn said ask yourself if it makes sense to call that a criminal enterprise.
"We put our heart and soul in this case and we believe in what we're doing. And the words that he quoted from Martin Luther King Jr. are apropos – just like his reference to jurors to be a profile in courage. Because they have to resist all the outside pressures that are out there, and that have been brewing in this town for 5, 6, 7, 8 years," said Ferguson lawyer Mike Rataj.
Earlier in the day – Bernard Kilpatrick's lawyer, John Shea, told the jury there's nothing illegal about being a consultant, and it's not against the law to be related to Detroit's former mayor.
Shea spent about two hours pointing out discrepancies in the testimony of key government witnesses – including Karl Kado who claimed Bernard Kilpatrick extorted him. Shea called Kado's testimony complete theater – saying Kado admitted he owed Kilpatrick money for consulting work.
Shea reminded the jury that when Bernard Kilpatrick was seen on undercover FBI videotape asking for $5,000 – the government's witness, James Rosendall, agreed that the 5 grand was for an unpaid invoice for consulting work.
As they have from the beginning, the jurors watched, listened, and took notes and soon it will be their turn to decide the fate of the Kilpatrick's and Ferguson.
The government gets the final say in this case – Assistant US attorney Mark Chutkow will do the rebuttal Friday morning.
7 Action News will bring you all of the latest developments as the case finally gets handed over to the jury.