Rutherford cash not a bribe, Kilpatrick attorney says

Jon Rutherford

Jon Rutherford

Kwame Kilpatrick took political money and suits from a former homeless shelter operator, the former mayor’s attorney said this morning, but no crime took place because Jon Rutherford didn’t expect anything in return.

Rutherford, who is headed to prison on tax charges related to the corruption investigation, poured money into Kilpatrick’s campaign coffers and also said he gave him $10,000 for a trip to the Middle East.

But James C. Thomas said Rutherford testified he didn’t expect the mayor to do anything for him.

“Where’s the crime?” Thomas asked.

Rutherford, however, did say he wanted the mayor’s help to facilitate a deal to put a casino on the riverfront. The casino never materialized and Thomas said Rutherford “had no chance of getting a casino license.”

In October, Rutherford said he gave more than $500,000 to Kilpatrick and his father in hopes of winning support for his casino proposal.

“Were you paying this for something in return?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow asked then.

“I guess,” Rutherford said. “I wanted something in the end … yup.”


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