Ferguson bankrolled switch to Blackberry phones: Marc Andre Cunningham

Marc Andre Cunningham

Marc Andre Cunningham

Marc Andre Cunningham, a fraternity brother of Kwame Kilpatrick, has begun testifying, telling the court how he suggested the Kilpatrick administration stop using the SkyTel pagers they had.

Cunningham said he told Kilpatrick the SkyTel pagers weren’t as secure as BlackBerry phones and if he made the switch, “they wouldn’t have to worry about anyone getting hold of their text messages.”

Kilpatrick agreed to buy five Blackberry phones around Christmas 2004 and the initial purchase was paid for by contractor Bobby Ferguson, Cunningham said.

Business consultant Bernard Parker III was expected to testify this morning for a third day but defense attorneys decided not to ask him any more questions after they raised numerous questions about his prior testimony on Thursday.

Cunningham pleaded guilty in 2010 to  conspiracy to commit bribery. He was implicated for his role in securing a $30 million investment from the Detroit General Retirement System and Police and Fire pension fund in a venture capital firm.

The pension boards approved the deals and Cunningham got a $300,000 commission from the firm.

Mike Wilkinson

Mike has been a reporter at The Detroit News since 2006.