U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds rejected requests today that she acquit Kwame Kilpatrick, his father Bernard and pal Bobby Ferguson on various criminal charges.
The three defendants in the City Hall corruption trial lost requests related to several charges, including tax, extortion and mail/wire fraud.
During the 10 a.m. hearing, Edmunds also finalized jury instructions. Notably, she refused to tell jurors that Kwame Kilpatrick’s fundraiser Emma Bell allegedly abused alcohol.
Bell provided some of the most colorful testimony during the trial. She allegedly delivered cash kickbacks to the former Detroit mayor stuffed in her bra.
Closing arguments are set for Monday in federal court.
Live Updates EndedPlease read below for an archived view of this event.
Prosecutors dropped additional charges Friday on the eve of closing arguments in the Kwame Kilpatrick corruption trial.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office dropped one extortion charge against Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson and a separate extortion charge against the former Detroit mayor’s father, Bernard Kilpatrick.
Prosecutors did not explain the moves, which leaves all three defendants facing racketeering conspiracy and other charges that carry penalties of up to 20 years in prison.
The moves come one day after prosecutors dismissed one count of filing a false tax return against Bernard Kilpatrick.
The extortion charge dismissed against Kwame Kilpatrick and Ferguson related to a sewer contract involving Inland Waters.
According to the indictment, Kilpatrick and Ferguson extorted more than $5 million in sewer work from the firm between 2006 and 2008. Executives at the firm feared they would suffer economically unless they shared the contract with Ferguson, a close friend of the mayor, according to prosecutors.
Separately, prosecutors dropped an extortion count against Bernard Kilpatrick related to a sewer-lining contract.
The political consultant allegedly helped hold up Inland Waters’ $50 million sewer-lining contract until the firm agreed to hire Ferguson. Kwame Kilpatrick and Ferguson are still charged with extortion relating to that contract.
UPDATE: U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade sent out the following statement after her office dropped several criminal charges in the case:
“We streamlined our proofs to shorten the trial, necessitating the dismissal of these few counts,” McQuade said.
Here is a breakdown of the remaining charges against each defendant and possible penalties:
1 count of racketeering conspiracy: 20 years in prison
8 counts of extortion: 20 years in prison, $250,000 fine
2 counts of bribery: 10 years in prison, $250,000 fine
13 counts of mail and wire fraud: 20 years, $250,000 fine
5 counts filing false tax returns: 3 years and $100,000 fine
1 count tax evasion: 5 years, $100,000 fine and the cost of the prosecution
1 count of racketeering conspiracy: 20 years in prison
1 counts of extortion: 20 years, $250,000 fine
2 counts filing false tax return: 3 years and $100,000 fine
8 counts of extortion: 20 years, $250,000 fine
2 counts of bribery: 10 years, $250,000 fine
Kwame Kilpatrick and pal Bobby Ferguson lost requests to be acquitted Friday on extortion charges.
U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds also shot down a request by Kilpatrick’s lawyer to be acquitted on mail and wire fraud charges. The charges are punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The friends asked for a verdict of acquittal on five extortion charges.
“I am quite comfortable with submitting those counts to the jury,” Edmunds said during a hearing Friday in federal court.
Edmunds rejected a request by Kilpatrick lawyer James C. Thomas to acquit the former Detroit mayor on 13 counts of mail and wire fraud. Those charges are related to the use of funds from the ex-mayor’s nonprofit group.
Prosecutors allege Kilpatrick used the mail to defraud donors by spending money on personal expenses, including resort trips, golf clubs, yoga lessons, spy equipment and summer camp for his kids.
Defense lawyers can raise the issue again if Kilpatrick and Ferguson are convicted by jurors.
Jurors will decide whether to convict Bernard Kilpatrick on a charge of filing a false tax return.
U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds said there is enough circumstantial evidence to let jurors decide. Kilpatrick’s lawyer John Shea argued for an acquittal during a hearing Friday in federal court.
“I will take it under advisement,” Edmunds said during a hearing in federal court Friday. “We’ll see what the jury does with it.”
Prosecutors, without explanation, disclosed they are moving to dismiss one count against Kilpatrick of filing a false tax return in 2007.
He also faces two counts of filing false tax returns in 2004 and 2005.
The tax counts, punishable by up to three years in prison, carry the lightest penalty among a slew of criminal charges against the father of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
Like his son, Bernard Kilpatrick also is charged with racketeering conspiracy and extortion, 20-year felonies.
Defense lawyers gave the public a rare, and long-awaited glimpse last night at some of the exhibits used during the Kwame Kilpatrick corruption trial.
Several exhibits were filed publicly in federal court Thursday, including a graphic summary of the more than $531,000 in cash transactions made by Kilpatrick from 2002, when he became mayor, through 2008.
The feds believe the money represents kickbacks and bribes.
The exhibits have never been shown outside of court, until now. U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds said the exhibits, including secretly recorded FBI videos and federal wiretaps won’t be released until after the trial.
Here’s the summary of Kilpatrick’s cash:
Ferguson’s lawyers also filed a detailed spreadsheet listing $2.55 million worth of cash transactions made by the Detroit contractor during Kilpatrick’s time in office.
Ferguson allegedly received nearly $125 million in revenue from city construction contracts during Kilpatrick’s time in office.
Federal prosecutors today said former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and pal Bobby Ferguson should not be acquitted of five extortion charges.
Prosecutors suggested Ferguson was the source of more than $531,000 in cash transactions made by Kilpatrick from 2002, when he became mayor, through 2008.
Prosecutors failed to directly link any payments from Ferguson to the former Detroit mayor, Ferguson’s lawyers wrote late Thursday.
In their response, prosecutors disagreed:
“Any shared proceeds do not have to directly align, chronologically or otherwise, with the dates of the extorted City contracts. Rather, it is enough that there was a general understanding that in exchange for the extorted contracts, the vendors would benefit by virtue of Kwame Kilpatrick’s position as a public official.”
“The government presented specific evidence regarding the amount of money Bobby Ferguson generated from the contracts which he and Kwame Kilpatrick extorted, the amount of cash Bobby Ferguson withdrew, the amount of cash Bobby Ferguson kept in his offices and personal residence, the fact that Kwame Kilpatrick had over half a million dollars in unreported income and that he made payments in cash on his credit card and as deposits, and that Kwame Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson texted about the exchange of cash.”