Kwame Kilpatrick

A jury will hear opening arguments Friday in former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s public corruption trial.

Kilpatrick is on trial with his father, Bernard; longtime friend and former city contractor Bobby Ferguson; and former Detroit water department chief Victor Mercado.

The federal government alleges the four men formed a kind of criminal gang—the so-called “Kilpatrick Enterprise.”

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Michigan unemployment rate up to 9.4 percent

"There were more Michiganders out of work in August. The state’s unemployment rate jumped last month. Michigan’s unemployment rate rose to 9.4 percent in August. That's up four tenths of a percent from the July jobless rate. Unemployment has been rising in Michigan for the past four months. Now is at its highest point since last November. A big reason for the jump is large cuts in manufacturing jobs. On the positive side, Michigan’s unemployment rate was still a full percentage point lower last month than it was in August 2011. There were also some gains in the number of people finding work in the professional business and government sectors," Steve Carmody reports.

Public defense bill moves forward

A jury has been seated in the upcoming corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his three co-defendants.

The jury’s racial make-up was a major point of contention during jury selection.

Kilpatrick’s lawyers have argued that a lack of African Americans in the jury pool hurts the ex-Mayor’s chances of a fair trial.

DETROIT (AP) - Defense lawyers in the corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick are objecting to news coverage and asking a judge to move the case out of town.

The attorneys cited a story Monday in the Detroit Free Press. The newspaper said a juror in a recent trial involving Detroit contractor Bobby Ferguson didn't disclose certain information about herself.

Ferguson's lawyer, Gerald Evelyn, said Tuesday that the story was an "outrage" and would intimidate jurors in the Kilpatrick case. Jury selection is expected to end this week.

Judge Nancy Edmunds says the story was distressing, but she isn't stopping jury selection. Free Press attorney Herschel Fink says the remarks by defense lawyers are "self-serving."

Kilpatrick is on trial with Ferguson, his father, Bernard Kilpatrick, and former water boss Victor Mercado.

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s public corruption trial officially started in federal court Thursday.

Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick, longtime friend and former city contractor Bobby Ferguson, and former water department head Victor Mercado are on trial together.

Michigan Radio

Today at 9 a.m., jury selection officially began for the federal government's case against Kwame M. Kilpatrick, Bobby W. Ferguson, Bernard N. Kilpatrick, and Victor M. Mercado.

The four defendants are charged with public corruption for rigging water contracts and extorting city contractors through the mayor's office for personal gain.

The trial is expected to last 18 weeks.

The court describe's today's proceedings:

Lead in text: 
The much anticipated public corruption trial against former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his father, Bernard Kilpatrick, former Detroit Sewer and Water chief Victor Mercado, and contractor Bobby Ferguson is expected to start next month. Jury selection is underway, and today a judge refused to provide Kilpatrick with a new lawyer, someone Kilpatrick says he loves, but does not trust.
Law
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick
Dave Hogg / Wikimedia Commons

A judge says the names and hometowns of jurors will only be known by lawyers in the upcoming corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Federal Judge Nancy Edmunds says she's concerned about the privacy of jurors. At a hearing today, she said jurors will be identified in court by a number in place of their names to everyone except the lawyers.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - A federal judge has declared a mistrial in the bid-rigging trial of a Detroit contractor whose business flourished when Kwame Kilpatrick was mayor.

There was a lot of news last week, from Detroit escaping near-bankruptcy to the now infamous “vagina dialogues” in the Michigan Legislature. Not to mention the passage of a controversial abortion bill, and the announcement of the new Detroit River Bridge. During weeks like that, some things get overlooked.

One of them was that while all this was going on, the legislature quietly and unanimously passed a bill to prevent any other crooked politician from doing one thing Kwame Kilpatrick did.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing couldn't have enjoyed reading his city's newspapers when he woke up on Mackinac Island yesterday morning. The Detroit Free Press splashed a story across its front page saying the business community wanted longtime Wayne County political fixer Mike Duggan as the city's next mayor.

The Detroit News's editorial page editor said the business community had decided that it is time for the mayor to go, and then called on the mayor to, quote "use the excuse of advancing age and poor health" to not run again next year.

Yesterday morning the mayor came out to face the press, and naturally, was asked about his own future. Standing on the Grand Hotel's magnificent porch, all the mayor would tell us reporters was that he had eighteen months left in his current term (it's actually nineteen), and he felt the need to "get as many things done as I possibly can." Now, I don't have an opinion on whether the mayor ought to run. He previously has said he was going to.

Frankly, if you know anything about how government works, the worst thing Bing could do would be to announce early that he isn't running. The moment he does that, he becomes a lame duck, and immediately loses much of his power and influence.

But beyond that, I am astonished at the business community's chutzpah in attempting to say who ought to be Detroit's mayor. Do they think our memories are that short?

Seven years ago, the business community was highly decisive in a Detroit mayoral race. Freman Hendrix was one of the final two candidates. He was a decent man with a finance background who had served as deputy mayor in the Archer administration.

Hendrix had grown up in a working class neighborhood. He had joined the Navy, and had put himself through college. I thought he had the potential to be a good mayor who had the ability to relate to average citizens. But the business community wanted the incumbent: Kwame Kilpatrick.

"The Real Kwame Kilpatrick" a film by Ayanna Ferguson Kilpatrick (Kwame Kilpatrick's sister) is coming soon.

The documentary will recount the life of the former Detroit Mayor and promises “rare expressions” from his wife Carlita Kilpatrick.

The movie trailer released Monday on YouTube begins with the voice of Kilpatrick himself saying, “Today I want you to sit back, relax, open your mind, because I am the real Kwame Kilpatrick.”

Here's the movie trailer:

A book of memoirs titled "Surrendered: The Rise, Fall and Revelation of Kwame Kilpatrick" was released in August of last year.  

The Michigan Court of Appeals said former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick would not get to keep the money from sales of his new book.

The Associated Press reported:

A judge has ruled Kilpatrick's profits will be placed in escrow to help satisfy $860,000 in restitution he still owes Detroit as part of his plea to a 2008 criminal case.
 

Kwame Kilpatrick who was charged with perjury, spent 99 days in a Michigan prison, and was released Aug. 2. He lives now in the Dallas area.

DETROIT (AP) - Federal court records claim a Detroit businessman and ally of disgraced ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick obtained $58.5 million by extorting contractors and through other illegal conduct.

The allegations surfaced in a seizure warrant affidavit that was unsealed Thursday and reported by The Detroit News.

The affidavit provides the most detailed account to date of the alleged trail running through the racketeering conspiracy case against Ferguson and Kilpatrick. It says Ferguson spent a fraction of the cash on his kids' college education, his girlfriend and construction equipment.

Ferguson's attorney, Gerald Evelyn, said he hadn't read the affidavit but has challenged FBI searches in a separate bid-rigging case against Ferguson.

The 43-year-old Ferguson is awaiting trial in separate federal corruption and bid-rigging cases.

Jeffrey Beasley was the treasurer for the city of Detroit from 2006 to until he resigned in September 2008, according to the Detroit News.

Today's indictment charges Beasley with conspiring with others to "personally enrich himself and his co-conspirators by accepting bribes in the form of cash, travel, meals, golf clubs, drinks, gambling money, hotel stays, entertainment, Las Vegas concert tickets, massages, limousine service, private plane flights, and other things of value."

Prosecutors charge that bribes given to Beasley and his co-conspirators came from individuals who had business before the General Retirement System and the Police and Fire Retirement System of the City of Detroit.

More from the Detroit News:

Beasley, a fraternity brother of ex-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's at Florida A&M University, accepted the bribes and kickbacks in return for approving more than $200 million in pension fund investments, prosecutors said Tuesday...

If convicted, Beasley faces up to 20 years in prison. Charges include extortion, attempted extortion, and conspiracy to commit honest services mail and wire fraud.

"Employees of the City of Detroit are entitled to honest services from the trustees of their pension funds," U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in a prepared statement. "We will prosecute public officials who abuse their positions of trust to personally enrich themselves at the expense of the people they were intended to serve."

Jeffrey Beasley, 43, now lives in Chicago.

The Detroit News reports that during a deposition last September, Beasley had invoked his Fifth Amendment right 477 times, according to a transcript reviewed by the newspaper.

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick gave a speech about “second chances,” to a large crowd of students at Eastern Michigan University last night.  Kilpatrick was invited by a student group.

William Caldwall is a junior at EMU.  He protested outside the event with a sign that read “Actions Speak Louder than Words.”

Caldwell says he believes in second chances, but feels Kilpatrick isn’t making a true effort to redeem himself.  He notes Kilpatrick owes the city of Detroit hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Federal district court judge Gerald Rosen has dismissed a case brought by the family of Tamara Greene against the city of Detroit and former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Greene was killed in a shooting in Detroit back in 2003. Her family sued the city and Kilpatrick for sabotaging Tamara Greene's murder investigation.

There had been rumors that Greene danced at a party at the mayor's residence in 2002. It was never proven that the party happened.

More from the Detroit Free Press:

Schapka, the city lawyer on the case, had urged Rosen to dismiss the lawsuit, saying years of litigation, dozens of sworn depositions, 10,000 pages of Detroit police and fire documents and more than 11 million pages of police computer files dating from Greene’s death failed to substantiate the party rumor or prove that Kilpatrick or others obstructed Greene’s murder probe.

Two federal magistrates waded through 626,638 text messages retrieved from city-issued pagers during the period surrounding the party and Greene’s death, but only 36 had any relevance to the lawsuit and none shed any light on the killing or the murder investigation, the city said.

A fund-raiser for former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been charged with income tax evasion.

More from the Detroit Free Press:

Another person with close ties to ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is facing federal criminal charges.

Emma Bell, Kilpatrick’s longtime fund-raiser, was charged today in federal court with two counts of income tax evasion for allegedly failing to report more than half a million dollars she received from Kilpatrick’s inaugural and mayoral campaign committees, and the Kilpatrick Civic Fund.

Bell is expected to plead guilty and is cooperating. A plea date has not yet been set.

The Detroit Free Press reports that it is unknown whether Bell will testify against Kilpatrick in the federal corruption case against the former Detroit Mayor.

Earlier this month, Derrick Miller, a former aide to Kwame Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to corruption charges and is expected to testify against his former boss.

Kwame Kilpatrick and Derrick Miller were indicted on corruption charges last December along with three other people:

  • Bernard Kilpatrick (the former Mayor's father),
  • Bobby Ferguson (city contractor and friend),
  • and Victor Mercado (former head of the Detroit Water and Sewarage Department).
AP file photo / Associated Press

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick gave his first interview in Detroit after leaving prison earlier this summer.

Kilpatrick talked about prison, his personal life, and his self-proclaimed “resurrection” at Citadel of Faith church Tuesday night.

An aide to former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has pleaded guilty to criminal charges in federal court. It’s part of a case that alleges Kwame Kilpatrick and others turned city hall into a criminal enterprise.

Derrick Miller was the chief administrative officer in the Kilpatrick administration. As part of the deal he’s expected to cooperate with prosecutors.

The Michigan Court of Appeals says former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick does not get to keep the money from sales of his new book until he has paid his restitution to the city.

Kilpatrick argued, through his attorney, that the government could not take the profits from his book without violating his First Amendment rights. He said that would keep him from earning a living by telling his story.

A lower court judge ordered profits from the book put into an escrow account under a Michigan law. It does not allow felons to profit from talking or writing about their crimes if they still owe restitution. The state is also trying to collect $15,000 from Kilpatrick to reimburse taxpayers for his 14-month prison stay.

Kilpatrick was recently released from prison. A judge in Detrot found he'd hidden assets that could have gone toward paying his $860,000 debt to the city.

Kilpatrick has been living with his family in a Dallas suburb since his release from prison. He is also traveling the country promoting his book. He could appeal the court decision to the Michigan Supreme Court.

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