Star witness bought and paid for by feds, lawyer says

Derrick Miller, left, outside federal court with lawyer Byron Pitts.

Derrick Miller, left, outside federal court with lawyer Byron Pitts.

Former Kwame Kilpatrick aide Derrick Miller, the government’s star witness, repeatedly lied on the witness stand, a lawyer said Tuesday.

“He wanted to make sure I didn’t catch him in a lie, but we caught him in a lot of lies,” Kilpatrick lawyer James C. Thomas told jurors.

Miller was the third government witness attacked by Thomas during closing arguments. He also tried to cast doubt on former Cobo Center contractor Karl Kado and Kilpatrick fundraiser Emma Bell.

Miller struck a plea deal to testify against Kilpatrick.

Miller created phony records that were submitted to a federal grand jury and set up a shell corporation to hide payments from a corrupt pension fund deal, Thomas told jurors.

“You have the right to judge a man’s credibility,” Thomas said. “And judge what he’s done in the past.”

Asian Village

Asian Village

Miller is awaiting sentencing on tax and bribery charges.

Miller told jurors he delivered a $10,000 bribe to Kilpatrick inside the Asian Village bathroom — an allegation Thomas tried to shred.

It makes no sense that Miller collected the money from Asian Village owner Andrew Park and then called Kilpatrick in fall 2007 to come to the Detroit restaurant and pocket the cash, Thomas said.

“Come on, are you kidding me?” Thomas told jurors. “It doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t hold water, it didn’t happen. He’s the guy who can set other people up to take the fall.”

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