FBI agent rebuffs Kilpatrick alibi

Bernard Kilpatrick, left, and Kwame Kilpatrick.

Bernard Kilpatrick, left, and Kwame Kilpatrick.

Kwame Kilpatrick was too preoccupied with fallout from the text-message scandal in early 2008, his lawyer said, to stall a $1.2 billion deal involving a company that wasn’t paying large enough kickbacks to the mayor’s father.

The potential alibi surfaced Tuesday after jurors heard intercepted phone calls between the mayor’s father and girlfriend in January 2008. During the calls, Bernard Kilpatrick mulled having his son kill a sludge deal with Synagro Technologies Inc.

Bernard Kilpatrick and his girlfriend talked about steering the deal to a company headed by a relative, and splitting the profits.

“It’s a ludicrous suggestion that Mr. Kilpatrick, in the middle of the text-message scandal, and all the other problems he’s got, would come back on this contract for the benefit of somebody,” defense lawyer James C. Thomas said to FBI Special Agent Robert Beeckman.

“For the benefit of his father, I don’t think it’s ludicrous at all,” Beeckman said.

Kilpatrick’s lawyer emphasized for the jury that the FBI did not wiretap the former Detroit mayor’s phone.

James C. Thomas

James C. Thomas

The FBI did tap Bernard Kilpatrick’s phone.

“About Bernard’s wiretap, were there any conversations (with Kwame Kilpatrick) relating to the Synagro contract?” Thomas asked.

“No,” the FBI agent said.

“Not one?” Thomas asked.

“No,” Beeckman said.

“Not a whisper, not a vague reference and not a direct reference?” Thomas asked.

“No,” the agent said.

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