Star witness details fading ties to Kilpatrick

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

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

They were groomsman, pals since high school at Cass Tech but rumors were swirling by summer 2007 that Derrick Miller was cooperating with an FBI probe of City Hall and Kwame Kilpatrick.

Miller, the mayor’s most trusted aide, wanted to prove his loyalty but rumors intensified when he decided to quit the Kilpatrick administration.

Amid the rumors, Miller met with Kilpatrick at a downtown breakfast spot along Woodward.

“I just told him you’re hearing a kind of nonsense about me, and whether or not I’m loyal or working with the feds. I basically put that to rest,” Miller testified. “He said, ‘I know.'”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow

After Miller quit in fall 2007, his relationship with Kilpatrick withered.

“After you left, did you maintain a relationship with the mayor?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow asked.

“Some relationship, yes,” Miller said.

“Did you socialize much?” the prosecutor asked.

“Not much,” Miller said.

Miller made one last attempt to prove his loyalty.

He wrote a $10,000 check to Kilpatrick’s nonprofit group on June 25, 2008, during a fundraiser at the Atheneum Suite Hotel.

“I just wanted to show my support,” Miller said.

Miller said he never cooperated with the feds or wore a hidden recording device or cooperated with the feds — until after being indicted on racketeering charges in December 2010.

Miller struck a plea deal with prosecutors the following year and agreed to testify in hopes of receiving a lighter prison sentence.

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