Mercado lawyer: Feds dropped nuclear bomb on his life

Victor Mercado was an outsider, not an integral member of the Kilpatrick Enterprise and his life was ruined by the federal government, his lawyer told jurors Friday.

Attorney Martin Crandall launched his defense emphasizing Mercado’s outsider status and suggested the former Detroit water boss is collateral damage of the government’s investigation.

“Victor never got a dime, not a penny,” Crandall said. “Victor Mercado is not guilty.”

He called the racketeering charge a nuclear bomb that damaged Mercado’s career, reducing him from being a $240,000-a-year utility boss to running to working as a clerk in a hardware store.

He countered the government’s allegation that Mercado participated in the racketeering scheme in order t o pocket a salary that was higher than that of the Detroit mayor and Michigan governor.

The salary was in line with utility directors nationwide, Crandall said.

“He did get that salary but he made it before he got here and after he left,” Crandall said. “Because he was talented. Because he was good.”

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