First text messages in Kilpatrick corruption trial shown Friday

DETROIT (WXYZ) - The first text messages in the Kilpatrick Corruption Case were officially shown to the jury Friday.

Those text messages may seem to bolster what Emma Bell said on the stand Thursday – that she met with the mayor the same day she cashed a check to give him some of the money.
But the defense is saying don't jump to conclusions yet.

Emma Bell told the jury in the Kilpatrick Corruption Case that she gave the former mayor cash kickbacks from her fundraising commission checks.

Bell admitted on Thursday that no one ever saw her give Kwame Kilpatrick any money and the defense exposed her gambling and tax problems.

But now the feds are showing the jury text messages from the same day that Bell cashed a $100,000 check at First Independence Bank in 2003. That same day, Kilpatrick aide DeDan Milton sent the former mayor this text message:

"Emma wanted to stop in later for @ 5-10 minutes max. What should I tell her?"

Another text from mayoral staffer Samara Bradley to Kilpatrick at 6:13 p.m. that same day said, "Emma Bell is here."

But the defense seized on the next message – this one coming from Kilpatrick to Bradley. It says:

"Tell her to come to Chris Ofc."

Kilpatrick's attorney Jim Thomas pointed out, the text doesn't say Bell should meet with Kilpatrick specifically – instead he instructs Bradley to send Bell to former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty's office, which Thomas pointed out was more than 50 feet away from the mayor's office.

Thomas also pressed FBI Special Agent Bob Beeckman about how much money in cashiers' checks that Bell got from the bank the day she signed the check.

Thomas said, "We don't have evidence of any cash coming to Emma Bell on August 6, not in terms of bank records?" Beeckman replied: No.

"We're going back over 10 years and asking people, what was your memory? But it looks like it's pretty clear that the paperwork and the lack of detail as it relates to some of the things that people have testified this week, are the issues that we've been wanting to talk about," said Thomas.

But the feds also put Emma Bell's driver on the stand today. Angela Burris testified that she drove her long-time friend from the bank to the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center several times, although Burris admits she never saw Bell meet with the mayor and she doesn't know what they discussed.

Meanwhile, Agent Beeckman also introduced this Channel 7 mayoral debate video to the jury.

"We haven't used on penny, one penny of the Civic Fund in this campaign because it's not allowed by law."

The feds allege Kilpatrick broke the law when he used more than $150,000 of the money from the Kilpatrick Civic Fund for his campaign. More testimony on the Civic Fund is expected next week.
 

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