City employee Kim Harris bolstered his bombshell testimony about behind-the-scenes maneuvering on a controversial water department deal, before a sick juror brought a premature end to the case Friday.
Harris survived a rocky cross-examination from Kwame Kilpatrick’s lawyer, who was repeatedly blocked from introducing evidence about a firm that was hamstrung and lost a deal that was later awarded to a team that included pal Bobby Ferguson.
The testimony set up a potentially devastating stretch for Kilpatrick and his father. The next witness is Cobo Center contractor Karl Kado, who allegedly paid at least $360,000 in bribes to the ex-mayor and others.
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U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds called an early end to testimony Friday after a juror fell ill.
The juror became ill after having a negative reaction to medication and Edmunds dismissed lawyers at 12:20 p.m.
The sickness made it impossible for the juror to continue Friday, the judge said.
“I know how he feels,” Kwame Kilpatrick’s lawyer James C. Thomas quipped.
Kwame Kilpatrick’s lawyer believes Karl Kado, the Cobo Center contractor who allegedly paid at least $360,000 in bribes to Kilpatrick, his father and a mayoral aide, is suffering from dementia.
Kado likely will face questions about his mental state once he takes the witness stand as early as this afternoon.
But back in 2005, Kado was an essential government witness who provide information to the feds, who in turn, secured wiretaps and secret recordings during the City Hall probe.
From court records:
“Kado made recorded telephone calls and on several occasions met with corrupt subjects, covertly recording them on video and/or audio. Kado has significantly contributed to the government’s investigation of corruption in local government in the City of Detroit.
To date, the investigation has resulted in ten defendants being convicted of bribery and related charges. The investigation has shown Kado’s information to be truthful and accurate, as much of it has been corroborated by other evidence.”
Kilpatrick’s lawyer James C. Thomas tried to wound Kado during opening statements in September, saying Kado was suffering from dementia.
“(Prosecutors) are asking you to buy what they are selling,” Thomas told jurors. “The scam is what the government’s going to perpetrate on you.”
Convicted Cobo Center contractor Karl Kado, who is set to deliver potentially devastating testimony against Kwame Kilpatrick and his father, caught a break from prosecutors in early 2010 because he helped the feds probe City Hall corruption.
Kado told agents he paid at least $360,000 in bribes to the former mayor, his father, and Kilpatrick aide Derrick Miller. Kado paid the alleged bribes to gain favorable treatment from city officials, who had power over his electrical, janitorial and food contracts at Cobo, according to the feds.
In March 2010, prosecutors urged a judge to sentence Kado to no more than six months in prison on tax charges even though his sentencing guidelines were 12-18 months in federal prison.
From Kado’s sentencing memo, written by federal prosecutors:
“Kado’s offense, including the underlying bribery conduct, is serious. While in some cases, Kado may not have instigated the bribes, he nonetheless engaged in a pattern of bribery that corrupted contracting at Cobo Hall, making it difficult for ethical companies to compete for business there. Moreover, Kado profited handsomely from his corrupt contracts.”
Prosecutors explained why Kado deserved a break.
“The need for deterrence must be weighed with the importance of obtaining cooperation from persons like Kado, without whom the government would not be able to hold certain public officials accountable for their illegal conduct.”
Following the government’s request, Kado was sentenced to three years’ probation.
Jurors will soon hear from one of the most important government witnesses who helped bring charges against ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and send 10 corruption figures to prison.
Former Cobo Center contractor Karl Kado could testify as early as today about paying $360,000 in bribes to Kilptrick, his father and a City Hall aide . He paid bribes to two former Cobo directors while holding exclusive electrical, janitorial and retail contracts there, along with a share of the catering business.
He also provided what federal agents have said was significant help, leading to at least 10 convictions so far.
In exchange, Kado avoided prison.
He was sentenced to three years’ probation, after pleading guilty to filing false income tax returns.
Kado is expected to testify about cash payments delivered to Kilpatrick through a mayoral aide.
Prosecutors say former Kilpatrick aide Derrick Miller obtained $10,000 in cash from Kado.
Miller, in turn, delivered the cash to Kilpatrick, according to the indictment.
Kado’s testimony could hurt Kilpatrick and his father.
From the indictment:
In and between about 2002 and 2005, BERNARD KILPATRICK obtained a number of cash payments totaling at least $250,000 from Kado knowing that, in return, Kado expected to receive favorable treatment from the City on contracts Kado sought or held at Cobo Hall. The payments included a single cash payment of $100,000 in 2005.
The indictment alleges Bernard Kilpatrick unsuccessfully tried to shake down Kado in March 2008.
When Kado declined to pay BERNARD KlLPATRICK, BERNARD KILPATRICK warned him that it would take Kado two years to be reimbursed by the City otherwise, saying, “You don’t even wanna pay me, huh? … It would take you two years to go through lawyers to get your money, man.”
Kwame Kilpatrick’s lawyer keeps getting blocked in his attempts to suggest the ex-mayor was justified in hamstringing a firm competing against his pal Bobby Ferguson’s firm.
U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds rebuffed several bids Friday by lawyer James C. Thomas to show tax records and business filings that suggest a firm called DLZ lied about having its headquarters in Detroit.
The designation gives firms bonus points in the bidding process. In this case, Kilpatrick allegedly ordered an underling to strip DLZ’s certification in 2006, which helped steer a water department deal to a team that included Ferguson.
Thomas tried to show DLZ’s tax records.
The judge sustained it.
Thomas tried to show jurors state business records.
A prosecutor popped out of his chair.
Again, the judge sustained an objection.
In doing so, the judge spoke what is becoming something of a mantra Friday.
“Move along, Edmunds said.
Thomas accused city official Kim Harris of lazily probing whether DLZ deserved to win bonus points for having a headquarters in Detroit.
“How do you know?” Thomas said to Harris. “You never even looked.”
“Is that a question?” the judge said.
Kwame Kilpatrick’s lawyer got argumentative while questioning a government witness who alleged the former mayor ordered his staff to hamstring pal Bobby Ferguson’s business rival.
Attorney James C. Thomas tried to cast doubt on earlier testimony from city official Kim Harris. Harris testified his boss, the late Gerard Grant Phillips, ordered him to strip the rival firm of a key certification giving preference during bidding to Detroit-headquartered companies.
“Gerard Grant Phillips is not here today. He’s not available today,” Thomas asked Harris.
“That’s a yes?” Thomas asked.
“Hes not here to be questioned about whatever you said to him or about what he said to you,” the lawyer said.
Prosecutors objected to the questioning.
“The reason is because he is dead,” Thomas said, disregarding the objection.
“There is nobody else to verify whatever you said or he said to you,” Thomas said.
“Argumentative!” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta said.
“It’s not,” Thomas said. “I’m asking him a question.”
U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds sustained the objection.
Thomas suggested Harris did not do a thorough investigation into whether the rival firm, DLZ, was headquartered in the Murphy Telegraph Building in Detroit and truly eligible for a certification awarding bonus points during the bidding process.
“There was no need,” said Harris, a former compliance officer with the city human rights department. “The company was certified. We had no reason to believe they were not Detroit-headquarter certified.”
Edmunds later rebuffed bids by Thomas to show jurors state business records that suggested DLZ was headquartered outside Detroit.
Thomas kept trying.
“I have ruled three or four times now,” the judge said, clearly frustrated. “I am not going to rule again.”
A key Kwame Kilpatrick appointee appeared nervous and fidgety while carrying out an order from the ex-mayor to hamstring one of Bobby Ferguson’s rival bidders.
City official Kim Harris described a key meeting he had in May 2006 with his boss, Gerard Grant Phillips. Phillips wanted Harris to strip certification from a firm called DLZ that gave it bonus points for having headquarters in Detroit.
The move cost DLZ and its partner a lucrative water department deal, which later was awarded to Ferguson’s team.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta asked Harris on Friday about the May 2006 meeting.
“Describe Gerard Grant Phillips’ demeanor,” Bullotta said.
“He basically walked around in circles with his hands in his pockets,” Harris said.
“You said he seemed nervous?” Bullotta asked.
“Yes,” Harris said, “Nervous and fidgeting.”
“Did Mr. Phillips tell you it had to be done immediately?” Bullotta asked.
“Yes, it was an urgency,” Harris said.
“Did he tell you why?” the prosecutor asked.
“No,” Harris said.
“If Gerard Grant Phillips did not want to pull DLZ’s certification in 2006, yet Mayor Kilpatrick wanted to pull it, could Gerard Grant Phillips have stopped him?” Bullotta asked.
“No,” Harris said, answering over several objections from Kilpatrick’s lawyer James C. Thomas.
Stay tuned to see how the defense combats testimony from a city employee who directly accused ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of steering water department deals to his friend Bobby Ferguson.
Perhaps Kilpatrick’s lawyer will tear at a small hole in city employee Kim Harris’ testimony.
Harris testified Thursday his boss, the late Gerard Grant Phillips, ordered him to hamstring one of Ferguson’s rival bidders.
Phillips insisted, telling his underling “the mayor wants it to happen,” according to Harris’ testimony.
Then, Harris wobbled.
That might not have been his boss’ exact words.
“Something similar to ‘the mayor wants it done,’” Harris said.