Kwame Kilpatrick found guilty in public corruption case

Mar 11, 2013

In a big court victory for federal prosecutors, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been found guilty of conspiracy racketeering, extortion, mail fraud, and tax charges.

His longtime contractor friend, Bobby Ferguson, was also found guilty on multiple extortion and racketeering charges.

Kwame Kilpatrick's father, Bernard, was found guilty of one tax charge.

Update 3:01 p.m.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds ordered ex-Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick and his longtime contractor friend, Bobby Ferguson, to be held in prison until their sentencing in the corruption case.

More from the Associated Press:

... he was handcuffed and led to jail after prosecutors asked the judge to revoke his bond. Edmunds said it was a "close call" but agreed that the scale under federal law tipped in favor of the government.

The Detroit Free Press reports on the argument federal prosecutors made that Kilpatrick should be detained:

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta argued that Kilpatrick should be detained because he has a history of disobeying orders. He also said Kilpatrick has access to money, as does Ferguson. Bullotta said Kilpatrick lied after his convictions on obstruction of justice charges in the text message scandal that drove him out of office.

“It’s a different ball game now,” he said.

As he was lead away, Kilpatrick spoke to his family:


 

Update 12:23 p.m.

Some jurors in the Kwame Kilpatrick corruption trial are answering questions from the media right now.

Jim Shaefer of the Detroit Free Press is live-blogging at the courthouse.

When asked if they felt anger toward Kilpatrick for using the mayor's office for personal gain, they said anger doesn't quite capture it - disappointment does:

Juror No. 6: "We had no anger...this was very serious. we had a large responsibility. I think we felt we did that responsibility...we had no anger or any other emotion other than we felt the (impact) this decision would have on the defendants."

Juror No. 11: "I wouldn't call it anger. I would call it more so disappointment, with me voting for the mayor twice. ...I saw a lot that really, really turned my stomach, and I couldn't believe this kind of thing was going on... but there was never any anger. Disappointment is all I feel."

When asked if they felt sorry for the defendants...

Juror No. 11: "I feel bad for the families. There's always a bit of sadness for the children and the families...I don't feel bad for the defendants, because I think you go into things knowing what you're doing."

The Detroit News just pushed this picture of Kilpatrick leaving the courthouse earlier this morning out on Twitter:

12:00 p.m.

Jurors are taking questions from the media now. Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek is in the courtroom and will have updates for us later today.

The jurors who chose to speak to the media are saying they took each of the 45 counts seriously, and carefully weighed the evidence for each count.

They say they also took the judge's orders to not follow media accounts of the trial very seriously.

Jim Schaefer of the Freep blogs:

Juror No. 7 says she was a social media junkie, but gave it up for the trial.

When asked which charge was the toughest to decide:

Juror No. 12: "We are a nice group of people..at times, arguments got a little heated" but identifying one charge as difficult is tough. All of them were tough. We took good notes, looked through them, worked with good diligence.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing released the following statement regarding the verdict.

“I am pleased that this long trial has ended and we can finally put this negative chapter in Detroit’s history behind us.  It is time for all of us to move forward with a renewed commitment to transparency and high ethical standards in our City government.”

11:28 a.m.

There were 45 charges in all against the three men (30 against Kwame Kilpatrick, 11 against Bobby Ferguson, and four against Bernard Kilpatrick).

Jim Schaefer of the Detroit Free Press reports Kilpatrick was found guilty of 24 of the 30 charges against him.

Bobby Ferguson was found guilty of nine of the 11 charges against him.

And Kwame Kilpatrick's father, Bernard Kilpatrick, was found guilty on one tax charge.

At 1:30 today, the judge will decide whether the men will be allowed to be free on bond until the sentencing hearing.

11:05 a.m.

Kwame Kilpatrick, Bernard Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson have left the courtroom. The following tweets describe the scene:

10:56 a.m.

The Detroit Free Press' Jim Schaefer has been live-blogging the verdicts this morning.

Here's how he described the reactions from Kwame Kilpatrick (KK) and Bobby Ferguson (BF):

KK was shaking his head through some of the guilty verdicts. Now the defendants are all staring at the jury, but everyone is composed.

Jury has left the room. Defendants have sat down. Judge wants to discuss detention.

Judge says that will require a hearing. She will take that up at 1:30. In the meantime, the defendants will remain free on bond.

KK has his chin resting on his right hand as he sits in his chair.

A staggering defeat, obviously, for the former mayor.

BF is slumped a bit in his chair. BK is seated on the edge of his chair.

KK now has his hands clasped in front of him, chin resting on them.

10:51 a.m.

The jury has finished reading their verdicts. There were 45 charges in all against the three men. The jury was unanimous in 40 of them.

The federal government has won its RICO case against Kwame Kilpatrick and his longtime contractor friend Bobby Ferguson.

Kwame's father, Bernard Kilpatrick, was found not guilty in the racketeering charges, but he was found guilty of one tax charge.

Kilpatrick and his longtime contractor friend Bobby Ferguson have been found guilty on multiple racketeering, extortion, wire and mail fraud charges.  Kilpatrick has also been found guilty of mail and wire fraud.

10:40 a.m.

The verdicts are coming in now, Kwame Kilpatrick has been found guilty on the racketeering and extortion charges, more charges are coming in.

10:35 a.m.

Photo of the media waiting for the verdict from the Detroit Free Press' Nathan Bomey.

10:29 a.m.

We are preparing to hear the verdicts in the Kwame Kilpatrick public corruption case.

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick, and longtime friend and contractor Bobby Ferguson all face dozens of charges, the most serious of which is conspiracy racketeering under the federal RICO Act (the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act).

The Detroit Free Press reports the racketeering charges carry "a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison."

We will update this post as we hear the verdicts.