BLOG: Text message on display during prosecution's final days
9:30 AM, Jan 29, 2013
1:22 PM, Jan 29, 2013
DETROIT (WXYZ) -
Follow along from federal court in what is expected to be one of the final days of the prosecution's case in the Kwame Kilpatrick corruption trial.
And that's it for the day. We've seen a lot of texts and heard some wiretaps between Bernard and Kwame Kilpatrick and between Bernard and Bobby Ferguson. More expected tomorrow on what should be the prosecutions last day, before they turn things over to the defense.
Federal prosecutors are showing the jury a slew of text messages that certainly seem to suggest Kwame Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson were communicating a lot about city contracts and deals.
However, they have not gotten to any recorded phone calls.
Because of this, they have announced that the prosecution will not be wrapping up today, as expected. Court will still take tomorrow off, before the prosecution returns to wrap up Thursday. Following the prosecution's last witness, defense attorneys will immediately begin their case.
A win for the defense.. the judge has prevented certain checks from the government from being introduced to the jury. Ferguson's attorney objected because the IRS agent had previously testified she didn't remember the thousands of checks she reviewed, and the judge agreed.
Now Assistant U. S. Attorney Mark Chutkow has called FBI agent Bob Beeckman to the stand. Beeckman has testified several times in the case, as Chutkow and company are using the agents as summery witnesses to tie up the case and introduce text messages.
Today it's expected that Beeckman will play severa; record jail phone calls of Kwame Kilpatrick for the jury. Beeckman just played an intercepted wire tap call between Bernard Kilpatrick and his son.
Ferguson defense lawyer Mike Rataj has been walking Agent Schuch through Ferguson's financial records. Schuch has admitted she didn't really investigate individual checks – she was just looking for checks made out to Bobby Ferguson or his wife, Marilyn, and checks made to cash.
Rataj showed the jury several checks that had things like "truck parts" and "330 Excavator" and "employee bonus" written in the memo lines, suggesting the checks were used for business – not criminal activity.
9:15 a.m.: In just a few moments, what's expected to be the final day of the prosecution's case will begin inside federal court in downtown Detroit.
Up first on the witness stand is IRS agent Rowena Schuch. Yesterday Schuch told the jury that she looked at cash withdrawals and checks written to cash in nine of Bobby Ferguson's bank accounts, finding a grand total of $2,551,357.21.
Ferguson's defense lawyer Mike Rataj is expected to resume his cross-examination of Agent Schuch in a few moments. Rataj got Schuch to agree yesterday that withdrawing cash is not illegal. He also got an FBI agent to agree that after the feds started sniffing around Ferguson's various banks, the financial institutions closed out his accounts.
Rataj suggested Ferguson had no choice but to store his cash in safes at his homes and businesses. FBI Agents say they found more than $2.2 million in stacked up cash inside Ferguson's safes and that they raided the locations because they suspected the cash was the result of criminal activity.
The jury is also expected to hear recorded jailhouse phone calls from Kwame Kilpatrick today. A different FBI agent is expected to take the stand today as well to discuss those recordings and other evidence.