Kwame Kilpatrick was under siege by the media and desperate to rehabilitate his image in 2008 when his charity spent money on personal expenses for the mayor, his mistress and family, defense lawyer James C. Thomas said.
Thomas also defended more than $100,000 in Kilpatrick Civic Fund payments to the mayor’s mistress, Christine Beatty. The payments were legitimate because Beatty — who had resigned amid the text-message scandal — was working on a brochure promoting the mayor’s accomplishments.
Earlier testimony showed Beatty essentially paid herself for the work. One $50,000 Civic Fund check was signed by Beatty. She filled out another $60,000 check from the Civic Fund, according to testimony.
Thomas questioned former Kilpatrick aide April Edgar about fall 2008 before the mayor resigned under pressure amid fallout from the text-message scandal.
“His image was under siege by the media during the time we are describing,” Thomas said to Edgar.
“Yes,” she said.
Thomas has suggested using Kilpatrick Civic Fund money to help the mayor’s image was a legitimate expense for a charity set up to benefit the community and support education. Prosecutors allege Kilpatrick defrauded donors of the charity by spending money on personal expenses, which violated IRS tax laws.
Edgar signed many of the Civic Fund checks that went toward Kilpatrick’s personal expenses.
“Did you feel like you were doing anything illegal?” Thomas asked her.
“No, I didn’t,” Edgar said.
Edgar conceded, however, she wasn’t sure about the charity’s purpose.
“I wasn’t clear what could or couldn’t be paid,” Edgar said.
Kilpatrick did not have any income after resigning in September 2008 and leaving Wayne County Jail in early 2009, Thomas said. During that period, Kilpatrick’s charity paid moving expenses for his family and other personal bills.
Edgar also left City Hall when Kilpatrick resigned but wasn’t out of work for long.
She landed a gig at a Detroit firm called Xcel Construction Services.
The firm’s founder: Kilpatrick pal and co-defendant Bobby Ferguson.