April 25, 2013
Read it on our sister site, TamaraGreene.com »
March 11, 2013
And, he’s likely getting a minimum of 10 years in the hoosegow.
Original Story on Freep.com »
Legal experts say today’s verdicts in the Kwame Kilpatrick public corruption trial could bring at least 10 years of prison time for the former mayor and his contractor friend Bobby Ferguson, while Kilpatrick’s father faces a lighter sentence.
Walter Piczczatowski, a Bloomfield Hills attorney who specializes in federal criminal law, said Kwame Kilpatrick and Ferguson face at least a decade in prison under federal sentencing guidelines. And Kilpatrick will get additional prison time — perhaps as much as four years — because he was an elected official at the time of the crimes, Piczczatowski said.
Bernard Kilpatrick’s conviction will bring a lighter sentence – which could include probation - and the judge can take into consideration the age of the former mayor’s father.
Detroit Attorney Ven Johnson said U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds will likely want to send a message with her sentencing – that public corruption will not be tolerated.
“She’s going to throw the book at them big time,” he said. “She’s going to want this to be a lesson, to teach people out there that this is not how elected officials, how our government can operate.”
Johnson speculated that while the defense attorneys would seek immediate appeals, the sheer number of convictions – Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted of 24, and Ferguson nine – would make a successful appeal unlikely.
“It’s going to fall on deaf ears,” he said. “It’s pretty clear that jurors decided they were in on this, they knew what they were doing, that they conspired. These are very very serious conspiracy convictions.”
Detroit attorney Mark Kriger said the government was banking on jurors – a number of whom are African American – to set aside race in their deliberations. “And these verdicts affirm that the government made the right call,” he said.
The sheer number of witnesses testifying about the “pay to play” culture of the Kilpatrick era likely led jurors to convict without much hesitation, Kriger said.
“When you have one or two coming in, you might say, ‘Hey, they’re here to get a deal,’” he said. “But when it’s one after another, after another, it’s pretty compelling.”
January 16, 2013
Read story on our sister site, TamaraGreene.com »
January 12, 2013
To keep up with the daily developments of Kwame’s latest trial, make sure you’re following us on facebook and twitter. That’s where we post near-daily updates on the trial.
November 05, 2012
Original Post on MLive.com »
By Gus Burns | email@example.com on November 05, 2012
Amid a hiatus in the Kwame Kilpatrick trial, the defense has been dealt a blow.
Victor Mercado, Detroit’s former water and sewer boss under ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and a co-defendant in the trial, admitted Monday that he conspired with the mayor to help Bobby Ferguson secure Water Department contracts between 2002 and 2008.
Mercado, 61, who lives in Florida could now spend up to 18 months in prison and be fined up to $100,000 per the plea deal he made with federal investigators Monday.
Mercado wielded great amounts of power while overseeing a department with annual expenditures near $1.2 billion.
To be found guilty of conspiring to commit conspiracy, one must conspire with two or more individuals to violate the Hobbs Act, essentially extortion.
“Guilty, your honor,” Mercado said in court Monday, when Judge Nancy Edmunds asked for his plea. He wore a dark-colored suit, burgundy tie and white collared shirt.
Before accepting the plea, Mark Chutkow, an attorney for the prosecution, made a statement further explaining the extend of Mercado’s role in the alleged City Hall corruption ring.
“Mr. Mercado did not take any under-the-table financial benefits,” Chutkow said, was a “reluctant participant” and he did, “from time to time, push back, but he did compromise himself.
“This does not excuse his conduct,” said Chutkow. “He was a high-ranking public official, but it does differentiate himself from the other defendants,” Kwame Kilpatrick, Bernard Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson.
Edmund found Mercado to be competent and accepted the plea.
“Kilpatrick used his position as Mayor of Detroit and Special Administrator of (the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department) to pressure city contractors-who submitted proposals to or were awarded contracts by (the Water Department) to give subcontracts or payments obtained under those contracts to Bobby W. Ferguson, or risk having the contracts delayed, awarded to competitors, or canceled, resulting in economic harm,” the plea agreement signed by Mercado states, according to a Department of Justice release. “Invoking and otherwise exploiting his well-known affiliation with former Mayor Kilpatrick, Ferguson pressured city contractors to hire or pay him for DWSD contracts.”
Edmunds said sentencing would be deferred until the conclusion of the Kilpatrick trial.
Testimony is expected to resume on Nov. 13. The trial is currently on hold while Ferguson’s attorney, Gerald Evelyn, recovers from a medical problem he suffered on Oct. 29 that halted the trial.
October 02, 2012
A while back, we received this disgusting, racist email. Check it out if haven’t yet.
Today, we received a disgusting, racist comment on the page. Don’t you think this guy would’ve realized that his racist comments were going to be posted along with his real identity and email, just like the guy in the original email?
Here it is:
From: Justin Ward of Pontiac, Michigan
Justin’s Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Justin’s Facebook Page: facebook.com/fra.c.ward
His 2nd FB Page: facebook.com/CrazyJ66688
Justin’s disgusting, racist comment: “it just goes to show you that you cant put a nigger in charge of anything. all they will do is sit on there asses and play with there cell phones and text. its in there nature to be dishonest and corrupt. then they will blame it on the white man because we wernt trained good enough to be honest. so we had to be crooks. i havent seen a honest nigger yet. all they worry about is chaseing fat white women and crying racism. that is all they got. white people that are courupt will admit there dishonest. but a nigger that is corupt will blame it on the system that they were targeted for being black. all i can say is change your color. they talk about the white person so bad but they do all they can to look like us. they have a scam for everything”
Everyone, go on over to Justin’s facebook page and let him know what you think of him. Or, just email him.
August 16, 2012
Read over on our sister site, TamaraGreene.com »
August 15, 2012
Originally Posted on Freep.com »
Federal judge to give Kwame Kilpatrick fourth attorney for public corruption trial
5:51 PM, August 15, 2012
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his attorney James Thomas make their way to federal court in Detroit, Wednesday, Aug 8, 2012. / ANDRE J. JACKSON/ Detroit Free Press
By Tresa Baldas | Free Press Staff Writer
Kwame Kilpatrick’s last-minute request for a new lawyer didn’t just create legal drama — it also landed him a fourth attorney at taxpayers’ expense.
One day after denying him a new lawyer, U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds wrote today that she would assign a fourth attorney to Kilpatrick’s defense team to handle any potential conflicts of interest involving a certain batch of government witnesses in the upcoming public corruption trial.
Those witnesses are connected to a separate, $25.5 million lawsuit against Kilpatrick and others over a sewer repair project that allegedly cost millions more than it was supposed to because of “grossly inflated invoices.”
Kilpatrick raised the civil lawsuit as a conflict of interest on Tuesday because his lawyer, James Thomas, works for the law firm representing the plaintiffs in that civil suit.
Thomas is not involved in the lawsuit, nor will he get any money if the plaintiffs win, according to court records.
In the criminal case, Kilpatrick is charged with steering some of the work from that sewer project to his longtime contractor friend and co-defendant Bobby Ferguson. To avoid any potential conflicts in the public corruption trial, the fourth attorney will cross-examine all government witnesses connected to that lawsuit. Those witnesses, Edmunds wrote, aren’t due to testify until October, “so a new attorney will have plenty of time to learn the case.”
The fourth lawyer was disclosed in a ruling in which Edmunds offered a detailed explanation about why she rejected Kilpatrick’s request for a new attorney. Edmunds concluded Kilpatrick’s request appeared to be a delay tactic.
It became especially apparent, the judge wrote, when the government offered a solution to clear up Kilpatrick’s conflict with his lawyer — but Kilpatrick wouldn’t give in.
“Kilpatrick’s inability to put that issue behind him suggests that he is manufacturing a wedge issue in an effort to delay trial,” Edmunds wrote in Wednesday’s order.
Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick, ex-water boss Victor Mercado and contractor Bobby Ferguson are charged with running a criminal enterprise through the mayor’s office to enrich themselves. They are charged with several crimes, including bribery, extortion and fraud.
On Tuesday, Kilpatrick told Edmunds that he doesn’t trust Thomas, and their relationship deteriorated beyond repair — largely because of a conflict of interest that Kilpatrick recently discovered.
Edmunds denied him a new lawyer, concluding he was stalling.
“Kilpatrick’s request is untimely,” Edmunds wrote. “Thomas has represented Kilpatrick for almost four and a half years in a number of state and federal cases, both civil and criminal … More importantly, Thomas has represented Kilpatrick in this case from the very beginning.”
“As recently as last Tuesday,” the judge wrote, Kilpatrick told the court he had no separate reason — apart from the recently discovered conflict — to want a new lawyer. He also “told the court that he loved Thomas,” the order says.
“Now, only six days later — and after 400 potential jurors have already filled out their questionnaires — Kilpatrick claims that his ‘love’ for Thomas has spiraled into an irreconcilable dispute,” Edmunds wrote. “Such an abrupt change is not credible — particularly given that Kilpatrick has ‘awaited trial for months without any complaints regarding his representation.’”
In arguing for a new attorney, Kilpatrick said he only recently discovered the conflict, which centers on one of Thomas’s former clients, towing contractor Gasper Fiore.
Fiore is one of the government’s witnesses in the public corruption case and has alleged that he was extorted for more than $50,000 by Kilpatrick and Ferguson — an allegation listed in Kilpatrick’s indictment.
To avoid any issue at trial, the prosecution said it was willing to drop Fiore from the case. The prosecution also said Kilpatrick has known about Fiore for months and signed a waiver of conflict in 2011 that specifically named Fiore.
“Kilpatrick’s attempt to turn Fiore into a recent revelation that has created a complete breakdown of the attorney/client relationship lacks credibility,” Edmunds wrote. Edmunds also stressed the importance of starting the trial as soon as possible. It is set to start Sept. 6, and jury selection proceedings are already under way.
“This case is one of the biggest criminal cases currently pending in this district. It is already consuming the resources of 400 potential jurors, at least 10 defense attorneys, almost 200 witnesses and much of the court’s staff,” Edmunds wrote. “The trial date has been set for over six months, and the court has set aside four month s of its calendar to try this case. Moving such a resource-intensive trial at the last minute would beg a logistical nightmare for all parties.”
August 06, 2012
Originally Posted on Freep.com »
Kilpatrick’s ex-mistress Christine Beatty got $140,000 from his civic fund, Mercado’s lawyer charges
4:08 PM, August 6, 2012
By Tresa Baldas and Joe Swickard
Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, left, and Christine Beatty. / Free Press file photos
Kwame Kilpatrick’s ex-mistress Christine Beatty got a nice parting gift after resigning in 2008 amid the text-message scandal: $140,000 from the ex-mayor’s civic fund, according to a defense lawyer in the public corruption case.
“A soft landing, if you will,” was how attorney Martin Crandall explained it in federal court this morning as he argued his client, ex-water boss Victor Mercado, was not a member of Kilpatrick’s inner circle, and that he “didn’t get anything other than his salary.”
“I want to show the jury what they got,” Crandall said, referring to Kilpatrick’s inner circle, “when Victor didn’t get anything.”
Crandall, however, did not provide any evidence that Beatty, Kilpatricks former chief of staff, received $140,000 from Kilpatrick’s personal charity.
When asked how he learned about the alleged payment, he told the Free Press: “I knew that from reading other discovery documents. I want to show, essentially, what everybody who was an insider received while working for the Kwame Kilpatrick administration, because Victor was an outsider.”
Beatty’s lawyer said Crandall was trumpeting stale news.
“This is nothing new and no bombshell,” said Beatty’s attorney Jeffrey Morganroth. “This is two years old and has been thoroughly looked at.”
Morganroth said Crandall was referring to $100,000 Beatty got to help produce a full-color booklet touting the city’s progress under the Kilpatrick regime. The Free Press reported the payment in March 2010 and first reported on the publication in 2008.
“This was not a lump payment and it was no ‘soft landing,’ ” Morganroth said. “It was paid over the course of several months. Also, a lot of the money went to subcontractors such as printers.”
Crandall disclosed the alleged payment in court this morning in an effort to get more information from the prosecutors about evidence he believes could help him at trial. Specifically, Crandall said he wants financial records involving this alleged $140,000 payment to Beatty, and is hoping to obtain a copy of the exhibit that prosecutors will show jurors during trial confirming the payment.
None of the four federal prosecutors in court this morning contested Crandall’s allegation. Neither did Kilpatrick’s attorney James Thomas.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta said the prosecutor’s office will look through its financial records and turn over the requested material to Crandall if it’s there.
“If we have them, we’ll make them available within the next week,” Bullotta said.
Crandall’s request came this morning before U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds, who heard several final requests from the defendants, including one involving an anonymous jury. Three defendants want the jurors’ names to be disclosed. Edmunds agreed to let only their lawyers know the jurors’ names, but prohibited the attorneys from sharing them with the defendants.
In another development today, Kilpatrick says he has no objection to Mercado getting his own trial. In a document filed today, Thomas wrote that his client supports Mercado’s request to be tried separately.
Mercado’s lawyer, who has threatened to disclose more damaging information about Kilpatrick at trial, is not surprised.
“I think they would rather Victor not be on trial with them. It would be an acrimonious trial,” Crandall told the Free Press today. “I would have to be antagonistic to (Kilpatrick’s) position.”
In court documents, Mercado, who is hoping to avoid a guilt-by-association verdict, has threatened to disclose things about Kilpatrick at trial that not even the government knows. Mercado says he was extorted by Kilpatrick and may make fresh allegations against him at trial, acting more like a “second prosecutor” than a co-defendant, according to court records.
“The jury will see evidence that the co-defendants received bribes, gifts, sham donations, misappropriated donations and private jet flights worth over a million dollars, just to name a few sources of illicit income,” Crandall wrote in a recent filing. “Mercado, on the other hand, received absolutely nothing beyond his salary.”
The U.S. Attorneys office is opposed to letting Mercado have his own trial, arguing in court documents that Mercado was a crucial part of the criminal enterprise who watched and let crooked deals go through on his watch.
Kilpatrick, Mercado, Kilpatrick’s father Bernard Kilpatrick and his longtime contractor friend Bobby Ferguson are accused of running a criminal enterprise through the mayor’s office to enrich themselves. They are charged with numerous crimes, including bribery, extortion and fraud. They all deny the charges.
The jury selection process gets underway on Wednesday, when 400 prospective jurors will come to the federal courthouse in downtown Detroit to fill out questionnaires asking about biases and exposure to any media coverage of the public corruption case. Jury selection will officially begin Sept. 6.
Opening statements are expected to start Sept. 14. The trial is expected to last up to four months and will be presented to the jury in the form of chapters.
August 02, 2012
Isn’t this exactly what criminals say right before they go out in a blaze of glory and take dozens of innocents with them? Put surveillance on this jackhole if you don’t want that to happen. —
Originally posted on DetroitNews.com »
August 1, 2012 at 7:12 pm
Kilpatrick to meet with reporters, vows, ‘I’m not going to prison’
By Oralandar Brand-Williams | The Detroit News
Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick will speak to members of the Detroit chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists this month. )
Detroit —Embattled former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick will face local journalists in what’s billed as his first lengthy “no holds barred” interview this month.
Kilpatrick will be interviewed by members of the Detroit chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists in a question and answer format during the chapter’s regular general membership meeting at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 16 at the St. Regis Hotel. The event is not open to the public.
WWJ-AM (950) will run a podcast of the event on its website, http://detroit.cbslocal.com.
“This is the first time I’ve done anything like this since leaving Detroit almost four years ago,” Kilpatrick said in an interview with Vickie Thomas, the president of the Detroit chapter of NABJ and city beat reporter for WWJ.
Kilpatrick is scheduled to go on trial next month on federal bribery and corruption charges along with his father Bernard, friend and city contractor Bobby Ferguson and former city water chief Victor Mercado.
The former mayor and the others were indicted in December on a 38-count indictment. Prosecutors say the former mayor and the men ran a criminal enterprise out of city hall.
“I’m not guilty, and I feel very strongly about fighting for myself and fighting for what is right and the truth,” Kilpatrick told Thomas.
“I believe the people who are continuing to tenaciously pursue me know I’m not guilty, as well. And so, I want to expose the wrongs of a lot of things, and I’m looking forward to this fight. So, it’s a different position that I have this time versus last time. I’m looking forward to the end, and I’m ready.”
Kilpatrick added: “I’m not going to prison. I’m not going to spend another day there.”
Kilpatrick was released from state prison last year after serving 14 months of a five-year sentence for violating probation related to charges the text-message scandal that drove him from office in 2008.