Kilpatrick pal's lawyer recounts fateful day in court

Gerald Evelyn, left, outside federal court with client Bobby Ferguson, right.

Bobby Ferguson’s lawyer Gerald Evelyn expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support following his medical crisis that stalled the Kwame Kilpatrick trial Oct. 29.

Evelyn acknowledged he suffered a “cardiac condition” common for men his age. He said he’s taking medication and his doctor has asked him to slow down a bit.

Speaking to reporters outside federal court Tuesday, Evelyn recounted the day he fell ill in front of jurors.

During his cross examination of Detroit businessman Tom Hardiman, Evelyn said he felt a tightness in his chest and started suffering from double vision.

He calmly asked U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds for a brief break. He said he recalls her suggesting a five minute break.

“I said (to myself) if I can get back in five minutes it would be a miracle,” he recalled outside the federal courtroom.

From the moment Edmunds agreed to the break to the short walk to his chair, Evelyn said he sweated through his suit and soon felt incredible nausea.

He remembers little thereafter; he was taken from the courthouse on a stretcher to Detroit Receiving Hospital.

The incident spurred a two-week break in the case during which co-defendant Victor Mercado pleaded guilty as part of a deal with federal prosecutors. It also led many to express their concern for Evelyn and hopes for his recovery.

On Tuesday Evelyn resumed his questioning of Hardiman and didn’t appear to miss a beat, though he said afterward he’s “not entirely back to normal.”

“I want to say thank you to everybody,” Evelyn said. “It really renews your faith.”

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