Defense shanks golf club alibi

Prosecutors scored an eagle Wednesday after questioning in the Kwame Kilpatrick corruption case veered into talk about golf.

First, Kilpatrick lawyer James C. Thomas asked a donor to the ex-mayor’s nonprofit group about whether he golfs with clients — an apparent reference to the Nike golf clubs purchased for the mayor by the Kilpatrick Civic Fund.

“Occasionally,” said Fred Prime, whose firm Loop Capital donated $40,000 to the Civic Fund nonprofit.

The golf clubs were the latest in a series of purchases prosecutors allege were improper. Prosecutors say Kilpatrick Civic Fund donors were defrauded because Kilpatrick spent donations on personal expenses, including golf clubs, summer camp, hotels and trips.

Thomas suggested the golf clubs were a legitimate expense and helped Kilpatrick entertain Civic Fund donors.

Prosecutors pounced after Kilpatrick’s lawyer finished questioning Prime.

“Did Loop purchase your golf clubs?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Doeh asked.

“No,” Prime said.

Robert Snell
Robert Snell is the Detroit News federal courts reporter. He can be reached at rsnell@detnews.com or (313) 222-2028.