Friday, February 15, 2013, 11:20 AM: The jury that will decide the fate of ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, father Bernard Kilpatrick, and Bobby Ferguson were given their marching orders by Federal Judge Nancy Edmonds. The twelve member jury will officially begin deliberations on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 after the President’s Day holiday.
What a task they have before them.
After five months of testimony, there is an abundance of information for the jury to go over before coming to a decision on the many counts charged by the government. There are 30 counts alone against the former mayor. I have followed this case since September 6, 2012 and sat through all of the closing arguments.
The American justice system is the best in the world and whatever the result, we will have to live with it. I will reserve my comments until after a verdict is reached. Hats off to Mike Bullota, Jim Thomas, John Shea, Gerald Evelyn and Mark Chutkow for delivering passionate closing arguments this week on behalf of their interests. Collectively, they gave the jurors a lot of information from their perspectives to digest. Evelyn quoted the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., while Mr. Chutkow referenced a quote from Eunice Kennedy Shriver that seemed to have spoke directly to what the defendants have been charged with (Racketeering Conspiracy, Extortion, Attempted Extortion, Bribery, Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud, Subscribing False Tax Return, and Income Tax Invasion).
As I posted after Kilpatrick was shipped off to jail in 2008, a guilty verdict would not be a reason to celebrate. Likewise, an acquittal should not bring cause to anyone to vilify the jury – they have been there every day and know the trial better than any of us.
Whenever a verdict comes in, I hope the Kwame fatigue that has permeated this region will subside. A hung jury would likely result in a do-over by the government. I can only hope that the name Kwame Kilpatrick will not be spoken again going forward.
The emotions with regard to the man are varied and closure has to come if the region is to move forward. Like him or not – and I am not a major fan of the former mayor – but please understand that Kwame Malik Kilpatrick is not the only reason why things are the way that they are in Detroit. There is plenty of blame to go around.
The jury has a job to do. So let them do their job.