Fundraiser lied to protect Kilpatrick, not make him look petty

Photo of Kwame Kilpatrick heading for court

Kwame Kilpatrick heads for court with his lawyers

Fundraiser Emma Bell cashed a $25,000 check from the mayor’s campaign in May 2008 and gave Kwame Kilpatrick as much as a $15,000 kickback, according to testimony.

IRS Special Agent Ron Sauer testified about the kickback, the first of several prosecutors allege Kilpatrick received from Bell.

Kilpatrick lawyer James C. Thomas is cross examining Sauer about Bell and referencing her criminal record. Bell pleaded guilty to two counts of tax evasion on Oct. 3, 2011, and has agreed to testify against Kilpatrick.

Thomas also is attacking her credibility.

“She lied,” Thomas told the agent.

“She did,” Sauer answered.

Bell initially told agents she didn’t split campaign donations she collected for amounts less than $25,000.

Bell later changed her story.

She gave Kilpatrick 50 percent of any donation over $25,000 as well as half of donations of $5,000 or more, Sauer testified.

“Her justification was she didn’t’ want to make Mr. Kilpatrick look petty by accepting cash kickbacks at a lower level,” Sauer testified.

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