BLOG: Kwame Kilpatrick's family joins him in federal court
WXYZ.com Web Staff
9:12 AM, Feb 12, 2013
4:11 PM, Feb 12, 2013
DETROIT (WXYZ) - For the first time in the more than five month-long trial, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his wife Carlita, his mother Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick and his children were all in the courtroom.
Today Kilpatrick's defense attorney Jim Thomas gave his closing arguments. Bernard Kilpatrick's attorney John Shea also began his closing, but was cut short. He will resume his statement on Thursday.
Kilpatrick faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of racketeering, extortion, bribery, mail fraud, filing false tax returns and tax evasion.
Follow along with 7 Action News Reporter Jim Kiertzner as he blogs live from federal court:
1:30 p.m. That's it for the day!
The judge was just told by one of the jurors that he or she was sick. So the judge stopped the proceedings. Shea will continue his close on Thursday morning at 9:00 a.m.
Proceedings in this case were not scheduled to take place Wednesday.
1:32 p.m. We are back after the lunch break and the judge told the courtroom that 3 or 4 jurors are a little under the weather, but they want to continue. They might have to take some breaks.
Carlita Kilpatrick is back in court sitting behind her husband, former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Their 3 sons and Kwame Kilpatrick's mother, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, did not return.
John Shea has started giving his closing statement to the jury. He represents Bernard Kilpatrick, who is charged with racketeering, extortion and filing false income tax returns.
Shea told the jury the government only sees what it wants to see and it had a "poisoned" view of Bernard.
Shea says it is not illegal to provide consulting services to people doing business with the city, as Bernard did, even when his son, Kwame Kilpatrick, was the mayor.
11:19 a.m. Thomas is now attacking the charges of wire fraud and mail fraud tied to the Kilpatrick Civic Fund.
Thomas showed the jury a graphic that the Civic Fund raised $1.7 million from 2003 to 2007 and Kilpatrick allegedly used $13,953 for personal expenses.
Thomas also says in 2008 when Kilpatrick resigned as mayor and went to jail, he was out of a job and had to move his family. The board decided Kilpatrick was in need and out of a job. Kilpatrick had not taken a salary. The board considered they were doing the right thing.
'Was that appropriate?' Thomas asks the jury. Thomas says there are times when the government extends themselves too far.
He attacked government witness Carl Selz for being suspended as a CPA.
Thomas talked about Sharon McPhail, who testified for the defense and was not cross examined by the government. She testified about gifting and loans the government ignored. Thomas told the jury, you can't do that.
The court just took another break.
10:45 a.m. Thomas is also attacking the credibility of Carl Kato.
He said in an August 2005 letter from the feds, Carl was told he was the target of a bribery investigation and that he should get an attorney and come in to discuss a plea bargain.
Thomas says that was a get out of jail free card,
And when Kato gave Kwame Kilpatrick money he said there was snow on the ground in August. Thomas says Kato has dementia and is not capable of being believed.
The "3rd pillar" of the government's case is Derrick Miller, former aide to Kilpatrick. Thomas says he can not be believed. Miller also cut a deal with the feds after being charged, in exchange for his testimony against Kilpatrick. Miller was able to hire an attorney in a large firm, provide false documents and lie to the grand jury. Thomas called it amazing.
10:38 a.m. Emma Bell was a fundraiser for Kwame Kilpatrick.
Thomas says Emma Bell shed a crocodile tear during cross examination looking for sympathy, she had not paid income taxes for 20 years, she was able to hide income, she was crafty and you the jury needs to decide if she is a credible witness. He says she was bought and paid for by the government, and reduced her jail time in exchange for her testimony, maybe no jail time at all.
Thomas says Bell's testimony that she met privately with Kwame Kilpatrick to deliver money to him from her bra to his pocket is not corroborated with anyone else.
He says this is an incident where the government is trying to get you (the jury) to connect the dots.
Thomas showed the jury records that Emma Bell lost tens of thousands of dollars playing slots at Greektown Casino. Thomas is also showing the jury text messages that show, on one day when Bell came in to meet with the mayor, the mayor told his staff to send her to Christine Beatty's office. He's also telling the jury the government is only showing you half of what happened between Kilpatrick and Bell.
Thomas says, hold it against them - the government. They should not be allowed to do that.
10:19 a.m.:We are back in session.
is showing the jury a contract that he maintains Kwame Kilpatrick was not sitting on
, despite what the federal government alleged.
Thomas says the government's case relies on
; Emma Bell, Carl Kato and Derrick Miller.
they are trading their troubles with Kwame Kilpatrick for the hope of freedom.
All face their own charges by the feds.
10:11 a.m.: The judge interrupted Jim Thomas and decided to take a break. It could have been because one of the jurors indicated a bathroom break was needed.
Thomas will continue when court resumes.
9:46 a.m.: To put things into perspective Jim Thomas compares the number of contracts in question during this trial (11, 9 with Detroit Water and Sewerage) to the number of contracts that department handles in a year (40 to 60).
In reference to text messages presented by the government, Thomas argues the words may cause for speculation when taken out of context without additional evidence.
9:30 a.m.:Thomas continues with his closing arguments saying that power and responsibility are a theme throughout this trial.
Thomas argues that
awarding contracts to friend Bobby Ferguson is an innocent
act. He says as mayor
Kilpatrick saw a city declining with high unemployment
hire businesses in
9:17 a.m.: Thomas told the jury that Kilpatrick has been demonized in the media.
Thomas is now going through evidence starting with the state Arts Grant. He called the prosecution overkill.
Thomas says Carlita Kilpatrick, Kwame's wife was given a contract to do work with state money and Derrick Miller, former Kilpatrick aide testified she did a good job.
Kwame Kilpatrick's wife and kids join him in court.
9:10 a.m.:Attention is at the highest level since the start of this trial. A second media and public viewing room has been opened
The judge just took the bench and announced jurors have moved seats because some may be feeling sick and might need a quick run to the restroom. Of course, if that happens, the closing argument from Jim Thomas on behalf of Kwame Kilpatrick would have to stop.