Wiretaps played for jury in Kilpatrick corruption case

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Wiretaps, golf clubs, and parties--those are just a few of the things thrown at the jury Tuesday in the Kilpatrick corruption case.

The jury was very engaged during the testimony -- one young woman actually raised her hand at one point, and asked the lawyers to play one of the wiretap recordings again.

"Ooooh! Thousands, and thousands, and they howling about $300," said Bernard Kilpatrick as he left federal court, just after hearing the wiretaps of his cell phone played for the jury. Bernard Kilpatrick denied misspending any money from the Kilpatrick's Civic Fund.

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his father Bernard, his long-time friend Bobby Ferguson and ex-water department director Victor Mercado are all on trial, accused of running a criminal enterprise out of city hall.

On Tuesday, the feds focused on father and son – and Special Agent Bob Beeckman played wiretaps of Bernard on the phone.

In one wiretap, Bernard can be heard talking to a Detroit business owner, about a Civic Fund fundraiser former City Treasurer Jeffrey Beasley was holding at the Atheneum Hotel back in 2007.

Bernard Kilpatrick says, "Jeff is having a thing for the mayor tomorrow" and "he wants you to step up," meaning make a donation. "If you can do $5,000 that would be real cool."

During cross examination, defense attorney John Shea pointed out that Beasley was the one asking for the donation, not Bernard.

Bernard and Kwame can also be heard while Bernard was trying to check into the Gaylord Palms hotel in Orlando. Beeckman testified that Bernard tried to use a Civic Fund cashiers' check at the hotel, but the hotel needed more information and the check was never cashed.

On that Florida trip, Bernard changed to the Marriott Cypress Harbor hotel to join several other family members. The FBI agent told the jury that $367 was charged to the Civic Fund debit card for that stay. When agent Beeckman was asked whether fundraising was discussed on any of the calls for that trip, he said no.

But defense lawyers pointed out that the FBI didn't know what the Kilpatrick's did every moment of that trip – and they could have been doing business.

"Things come out in stages, and we're just going to have to listen to the whole story. I just don't want to comment on it piecemeal. At some point will be clarity," said Shea.

The feds also played a recorded call between Kwame Kilpatrick and his sister, Ayanna, while the former mayor was serving his first sentence inside the Wayne County Jail.

They talked about a 90th birthday party they wanted to throw for their grandfather Marvel Cheeks at the Atheneum Hotel, and Kilpatrick can be heard saying "hopefully people will give checks."
The hotel received a $2500 check from the Civic Fund, but that was only a portion of the $7,200 bill.

"Certainly we have a defense. You can get a glimmer of it from my cross examination, how this case is going to unfold is going to be, certainly timely," Kilpatrick defense attorney Jim Thomas told 7 Action News Investigator Heather Catallo.

Defense lawyers are suggesting that community leaders came to that party, and that it was in part a Civic Fund event – even though Kilpatrick had been out of office for months at that point.

Also Tuesday, a golf club salesman testified about a nice set of Nike golf clubs and a custom golf bag, complete with the words "The Mayor" embroidered on the bag.

The $3,000 set was paid for with a check from the Civic Fund. On cross-examination though, Thomas suggested the salesman had no idea if the clubs were used for business or fundraising.

Testimony in the corruption case continues on Wednesday.
 

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