Inside the courtroom: Opening statements in Kilpatrick trial

Published On: Sep 21 2012 09:05:52 AM EDT
Updated On: Sep 27 2012 10:55:13 AM EDT

The former Detroit mayor, his father and two others are accused of making themselves rich at the expense of the city of Detroit.

DETROIT -

1:34PM Gerald Evelyn, lawyer for Bobby Ferguson.

This is going to be one of the hardest things you've ever going to have to do. You're going to be challenged to avoid the publicity on this case. You have to put everything out of your mind. You are going to be presented with evidence, pictures of money, to get your blood going. A 100 page indictment, over 100 witnesses in this case. You could be overwhelmed by the sheer quantity. They have a lot of quantity in this case, not quality. To do that is going to be a Herculean task. There are people in this courtroom who believe that you are not going to be misled and let the passions of other people drive your decisions. We are betting on you using your common sense.

Mr. Kilpatrick was the original target of this investigation. You are going to learn about the power of the federal of the government. Unequal power.

The pressure from the government causes some people to lie. You're going to have to think about that when you listen to the testimony of certain witnesses. Like the police officer who will say that Ferguson threatened him. These are examples of how this case is built on a foundation of nothing, of Jell-O.

Mahlon Clift, Derrick Miller.

They are going to say things that are not consistent with things they said earlier. The government will select 40 or so text messages out of 600,000. You'll be able to put them in context. Yes some of the language will be coarse. Kwame and Ferguson were active in trying to increase opportunities for minorities in Detroit-based business. When you study Kwame's record as mayor, you will see positive things happened in the city. Kwame and Ferguson were friends and are friends. The government will try to criminalize that relationship. That relationship did give Ferguson access and there is nothing illegal in that. The unfettered access the government claim took place will be shown to be inaccurate. The government will parade witnesses in here who want to see him go out of business

You're going to learn about Bobby Ferguson and the businesses he started-- he tried to get Latinos and blacks started in business.

When Bobby was 17, his father had a heart-attack and he took the reins of his father's business. His business did not start with Kwame Kilpatrick's administration. Poppycock. It existed under 3 administrations. His company had reputation for high quality work.

Comerica, Compuware, MGM Grand, CVS- these all preceded Kwame Kilpatrick. "He has the best equipment and delivers best prices"- from John Rakolta, a government witness.

He was sometimes angry and the text messages reflect that. His employees had MBAs and were all colors and of all races.

People would create fake minority companies to get a lot more in their pockets. Ferguson had employees, paid insurance and had a lot of high quality, expensive equipment. He learned his business from the ground up.

He believed in giving back. Getting other minority businesses started. Charitable organizations.

Examine this evidence carefully. You're going to learn that services were actually provided. Ask if when the investigation did they try to hide anything or was it full disclosure.

Some will lie for personal gain or for competition reasons. Derrick Miller his version changes every time he talks.

There is no, was never any, Kilpatrick enterprise. I'm kind of moved to say something about what Mr. Crandall said. It landed on everyone. Mercado's a good man. He's also terrified man.

Mr. Ferguson and Mercado are 2 different people. What is clear is that if his lawyer is correct, there can be no conspiracy without Mercado.

The evidence is going to be very clear that while Mr. Mercado was a good administrator, there were others who did very good work.

I'm going to save us all a lot of time. Promise me something. That you're going to pause. Take one witness at a time. For the co-operating witnesses, give their testimony more scrutiny. If you're careful over the next few months and have the courage of your convictions, don't worry about the newspapers, serve justice in this case and find my client not guilty.

12:40PM So, by the lunch hour we're almost through with opening statements. We've heard from the government and the lawyers for Kwame Kilpatrick, Victor Mercado and Bernard Kilpatrick. After lunch, we get to hear from Bobby Ferguson's lawyer and opening statements should be concluded.

The defense line-up is pretty revealing . First up was Jim Thomas for Kwame Kilpatrick, then Martin Crandall for Victor Mercado followed by John Shea for Bernard Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson's lawyer will be last. Interesting particularly because Kwame Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson who face the most counts are the book-ends to defense statements and Victor Mercado, who has done the utmost to distance himself from his co-defendants, is sandwiched in the middle of them all.

Martin Crandall, Mercado's lawyer, gave the lengthiest statement clocking in at almost an hour. As he spoke, stressing vigorously Mercado's outsider status to the "circle of trust", Kwame Kilpatrick focused on taking notes.

Statements will continue at 1:30 pm.

12:30PM Shea ends. Judge Nancy Edmunds calls the lawyers to sidebar. Break until 1:30PM.

12:29PM Shea continued. At the end of the day I'm going to be asking you to return verdict of not guilty.

12:00PM John Shea, lawyer for Bernard Kilpatrick. I want to start by saying a contrast between how I see the case and how they see the case.

First, you've probably heard allusions to Mr. Kilpatrick being a consultant. Being a consultant is not illegal. Also not illegal for someone who provides the services to interact with members of administration. What is illegal would be if your son the mayor said to someone, "If you pay my father, I'll do you favors." Or if the mayor told his father, tell peopl e to do business with you because I'm mayor. That's illegal. In this case, the government is going to try to show Mr. Kilpatrick’s involvement. I'm going to argue much of what the government had to say my client did not do. Mr. Kilpatrick is 71 now, prior to Kwame becoming mayor, Mr. Kilpatrick had worked in lots of political campaigns. At time his son ran for mayor, he was chief of staff for Ed McNamara. Supported his son as any father with his experience would. He did in fact leave his chief of staff position and opened a consultancy business. Consultants provide information on how to access government and sometimes they provide that access. This is akin to work of lobbyists. Not illegal. Various ways those consultants get paid. That's what consultants do. Bernard Kilpatrick was not alone in this profession.  

Bernard brought 20 plus years of government experience to the table. the evidence will be that he acquired many clients. You will hear that Bernard provided valuable services. The government says that Mr. Kilpatrick and his business are part of a conspiracy. Mr. Kilpatrick not just a consultant but had fundraising experience. Bernard did work for the Kilpatrick Civic fund- fund raising, presentations. not uncommon to be paid for.

Did not get paid a dime from the Civic fund for many years. Allegations regarding bribery and extortion. Mark Andre Cunningham is a man who was dirty to begin with. He and his father were caught. Mr. Cunningham was stung and caught and squeezed by government investigators. His story that he was required to pay bribes to Bernard was part of it. His evidence was bought and paid for. It will be interesting to see how Mr. Cunningham testifies because he hasn't always told the same story. I will show to you the disparities. We will prove the fact that Bernard Kilpatrick did provide services to Karl Kado. Kado not always well thought of in the city administration. Bernard presented him in a favorable light to the city. There came a time when Kado lost his contracts with the city. Bernard Kilpatrick attempted to prevent that. Bernard got paid for that. Karl Kado was brought into this investigation because he was caught bribing Cobo Hall. James Rosendall and Synagro had a proposal that was considered by city of Detroit. There was community opposition that was anticipated. Skilled consultants were necessary to get this thing off the ground. Mr. Rosendall is probably going to testify that Kwame asked him to hire his father. There will be no quid pro quo.It wasn't something that was fast-tracked. This proposal required reviews by all kinds of bodies. It took over 4 years for all this to get through. Early on it became that Bernard would not be the right face for the Synagro proposal. If you're an international company, it might not help your credibility to have the same last name as the mayor.

Bernard referred the client to someone else. Bernard did stay involved with Mr. Rosendall to help him personally. Some of the assistance was specifically for that. Government has said that Bernard has extorted Mr. Rosendall and has shown snippets of comments. The problem with snippets is that it doesn't tell the whole story. I want to show more of that picture. Bernard Kilpatrick was helping with the consultant who moved forward. In the weeks leading up to the Synagro project getting approved, Jackson and Rosendall conspired to move Bernard aside. Mr. Kilpatrick was upset, he was trying to protect a legitimate iterest he had. He was trying to extort but save an interest. Not extortion. Mr. Chutkow referred to payment received by Rosendall. He did, it was earned and he deserved it. Mr. Chutkow refers to a restaurant meeting where Bernard rejected money offered. And he did, because it was envelope full of money slid to him. It would have been foolish to accept the payment. There are in fact 2 sides to every story.

11:57AM Crandall concludes. Judge Edmunds clarifies who Judge Feikens is. Over the course of years, judge Feikens became very active in operations of the water board. Retired about 2 years ago and died 6 months later. Though I sit in the courtroom he used to occupy, I have nothing to do with the water case. Just want to be clear I have no responsibility with water board.

11:44AM Crandall continued. The texts don't go on for a day- they go on for 4 years. The government didn't tell you the rest of the story.

Another text between Kwame and Ferguson about Victor: "He thinks he's slick with the white folks." Kwame "His slick ass is running out."

5 days later, Ferguson to Kwame "Victor just outsmarted us. Had me come to his office. thought it was about the job we had. It was about the three lowest bidders, white folks." If the racism in these talks bothers you, don't hold it against Victor. It's all about the circle of trust and Victor just ain't there.I know you understood judge's instruction on presumption of innocence. People have died all over the world to ensure we have these freedoms. If you decide he's not in the loop, not in the circle of trust, you only have one option. Not guilty. These texts are all about the inner circle exclusive of Victor. They are talking about his back. That's what's important about the exhibits. When you look through them, you read Hispanic, slick man. I believe they are going to call Kandia Milton to the stand and he'll read: "Mercado is not easily controlled." Feikens liked Victor so the inner circle couldn't push Victor. Victor is charged with ten of these extortions.Victor ran the water department to improve it not to make grass. Victor had to go to Wall Street and sell municipal bonds in New York, besides running the water department. the 10 contracts they are going to tell you about, the extortion didn't happen, the racketeering didn't happen. He doesn't have lying in his DNA. His biggest problem was coming to Detroit. Victor came here, wrong place at the wrong time and got caught up in this agenda that wasn't his. Remember Victor. You have to do the right thing. Find him not guilty let him go back to his wife, 87 year-old mother and 4 children.

11:23AM Crandall continued. Tony Soave invites Victor on a boat and Victor says I don't want to be on it. He bitches and moans when the boat takes off. Then the CEO of Soave's company tells him the boat is yours to us. Victor says no, I don't do it. I see some of you are tired after almost 3 hours of argument. I'm going to tell you about Victor's life. His life is at stake.

Born in 1950, Victor grew up in poverty in the South Bronx. Never went to a Yankees game because he couldn't afford it. Lived in a tenement. Off to school got good grades. Worked every day through college. Got 2 degrees and became a successful engineer. Could walk you through his resume, it's 5 pages long. Worked with Con Edison through college. Worked other engineering systems in Virginia and Puerto Rico. Worked in Turkey, Mexico, Central America. When the judge saw the resume, decided we want this guy.

Why was water department so screwed up? Because it was run by lawyers! Then came along Victor. Jujne 24th 2002, first day on the job, water main breaks. Victor kind of a guy that Feikens wanted because he has dirt under his finger nails, gets job done.

There is nothing racial about Victor. But Victor would always tell mayor I'm not about black or white but about green. Who is talented, you get the job.

Victor grew up in the Bronx. He knows racism. He's worked beyond it. His mom and dad taught him hard work and education pay off. He worked at bodega at 9 years-old and made 50 cents.

Now he is working minimum wage at hardware store. But he taught his children to work hard and be professional and get ahead.

Let me talk to you about text messages. These text messages cover a 4 year period.

It was a treasure trove of information. The mayor and his inside circle. Christine Beatty, his father, the Milton brothers, they are all texting each other, sending blast emails to circle of trust. Mr Ferguson, Mr Kilpatrick. and you know who they never blasted, Victor Mercado. He is not in the circle of trust.

In them they say, we don't trust him, got to get that Hispanic guy. Those texts are better than wire taps. Text is from the brain to the finger tips to this chart. Example, a sinkhole that occurred on a Sunday in 2004. The water system is a horrible system. On this day, a Sunday, Victor is on the scene. For an hour, inspects it. High pressure job. CEOs around the country make more to him.

Victor is out there for 2 weeks driving steel sheets into the ground. Removed residents from 6 homes so the homes wouldn't sink into sinkhole. When Victor texts the mayor, it's always professional, usually beginning "Mr. Mayor". what it shows is that he is not in the circle of trust. The mayor texts Bobby Ferguson about the sinkhole, not Victor. Kwame :" You've got to get with Victor on this Sterling Heights job."

10:57AM "Good morning I'm Marty Crandall and I represent Victor Mercado. John Minock and I are representing Mercado together.

Let me say this first. Victor Mercado is not guilty of any of these charges. When you say the proofs you will see that the government can't prove its case. You will do what Judge Edmunds told you to and when there is not enough evidence, you will acquit.

The judge gave you a summary of the indictment, 100 pages long. If you distill it down to allegations, my client Victor Mercado is charged with being a member of the enterprise which in the indictment, the Kilpatrick enterprise.

The indictment reads: the mission of the Kilpatrick enterprise is A. To enrich its members. In that vein, the proofs will show clearly beyond a shadow of a doubt, Victor never got a dime. Not a penny. Not an illegal dollar.

The theory of the government is a member gets enriched and Victor is allegedly a member and Victor gets nothing.

3 theories of the enterprise. Common sense is this a public corruption case, #1, the blockbuster count, racketeering is the government's nuclear bomb. You will learn that primarily from witnesses who testify, drop the RICO, plead guilty to something else and you'll serve a lot less time. Like Derrick miller. So it's a nuclear bomb.

I say that in the vein, I respect the military, even our military knows our government has huge power. Going back to Bush going to Iraq, "We are going to shock and awe the Hussein government." and they did. Blockbusters have collateral damage. An example of the power.

A racketeering indictment has consequences too. I'm going to talk about his extensive experience. The indictment took him from his water career. After he left, he was making similar money in San Antonio Texas. He . was indicted on racketeering charges, worked his way through college with engineering degree. Then the nuclear bomb. Now he works as a clerk at a store. Collateral damage. Government says the salary was enough to keep him going. Water directors around the country, Victor has worked in NY, NJ, Virginia, Puerto Rico and oversees, Colombia, Mexico, and his salary, Victor didn't choose it, Judge Feikens, the water czar, chose that salary. Crandall shows a chart documenting Mercado's salary evolution to show that it wasn't so off his salary of $170,000 in Puerto Rico.When you choose an employee, you choose someone who can get the job done. You want someone with experience. Other people in this position, an LA water director makes more than $300,000. It's not out of range what Victor made.If someone was forcing him or colluding with him to steer contracts to Bobby Ferguson, he could have had a golden parachute and walk away. The evidence will show that Victor didn't deal with Bobby Ferguson, a subcontractor. He dealt with the primaries. The other theory of racketeering enterprise was covered in a footnote of opening state of government: "Victor obstructed justice by lying to an attorney in a deposition by hiding the fact that he was dealing with Bobby Ferguson on a contract." Now think of this, Victor gets hired by Feikens in 2002, he really gets along with him. Feikens really likes him because he's a damn good engineer. He's also a bit of a son of a (expletive) when running the department.

The water department covers the water services of 40% of the state of Michigan. In southeastern Michigan, it's a billion dollar a year business. And Victor's job was to run that department. So the Feikens/Mercado relationship is strong. Victor reports to him monthly- is water flowing, do we have any big problems. Government's theory is that Victor is going to lie to Feikens to protect the Kilpatrick enterprise which he is not a part off.

Jurors will be the judges of facts with common sense. In June 2008, Victor decided to leave Detroit and Feikens begged him to stay. He said no I'm leaving. Not only did Victor not get illegal money but there are witnesses under oath who are going to tell you they offered Victor gratuities. Jim Rosendall said Victor I want to fly you to Mackinaw Island. Victor said, with all due respect, I don't take gratuities. Rosendall offered him a condo in Naples. And Victor says no. It's not in DNA, lifestyle, not what his parents taught him. "

10:57AM Judge asks Mr. Martin Crandall, lawyer for Victor Mercado to speak

10:56AM  everyone standing to order waiting for the Judge to reconvene the session.

10:42AM So the opening statements are coming fast and furious. U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow bombarded the courtroom with a slew of alleged crimes and money transactions. The atmosphere is significantly more serious and tense than it has been for jury selection. The defendants are being incredibly attentive as are the jurors who are taking in absolutely everything, no small feat given the preponderance of facts introduced by the government.

The pace of opening statements is actually quite fast. U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow spoke for more than 40 minutes and Jim Thomas was about 20 minutes. Still left are the lawyers for co-defendants Bobby Ferguson, Bernard Kilpatrick and Victor Mercado.

10:30AM Thomas concludes. 15 minute break.

10:29AM Jim Thomas continued. If you listen to the facts you will find my client innocent.

10:11AM Jim Thomas, lawyer for Kwame Kilpatrick. Politics is a tough business. Mr. Chutkow's statements are not evidence at all. You've all been exposed to stories of Kilpatrick. There are 2 sides to the story. You are the judges of the facts. You heard what Mr. Chutkow had to say- that's as good as it's going to get. We're going to show you a complete picture. The government has thrown in everything but the kitchen sink. You're going to learn a lot about politics. It's like making sausage. It's messy but once it's cooked it's pretty good. You're going to have sour grapes from contractors coming in who have lost bids. Prosecution decides when to indict. This man's life has been laid open for everyone.

We're here to tell you he didn't take any bribes, extort anybody.

He embraced the idea of good government and providing necessary services to the city.

Now Bobby Ferguson, Bernard Kilpatrick, we embrace the relationship. We embrace the relationship of father and best friend. As relates to Mr. Mercado, he was brought after nationwide search. He was innovative and earned every penny of $240,000.

Kwame relied on Bernard for advice. Wonderful campaigner and fundraiser. Knew how to win election based on hard work. As consultant, he was effective.

You saw series of text messages up there, they are snippets. We intend to prove government targeted Kilpatrick very early on. Use of snippets without entire picture, you decide what was going on.

We sit in this big courtroom with 20 foot ceilings, government table only a fraction of the people working. Government power is awesome.

You are going to be determining innocence or if the burden of proof has been met.

You have to raise money to be a legislator. Not pretty, it's messy. This is the system we have. Messy but it works.

Conspiracy government is contending doesn't really track. Running a city is like guiding a ship. Everyone has their interest. Each one of the interests is competing.

Government is going to rely on series of witnesses. Going back to my concept of power of government. They have the power to offer people consideration for what they say.

Derrick Miller was indicted. Mr. Chutkow said Miller gave Kwame money. Went to the bathroom with him and gave him $10,000. That's the best he could come up with. Miller giving him $10,000 on a $5,000 deal.

Clift supposedly got $90,000 in a bag in 50s and 100s and goes to the airport and thru security and nothing goes off? Nothing happened there. He decides to go see mayor and only take $50,000?

Emma Bell was a fundraiser. Evidence will show she was grabbing money with both hands like Miller. Unbeknownst to Mr. Kilpatrick, it went to the casino. She gambled over $300,000. It was only when they came after her that she decided to minimize her time by talking about Kilpatrick.

We're talking about a gambler, a greedy underlying and someone who has dementia and ask you to buy what they are selling.

We want you to know a scam when you see it.

10:11AM End of Chutkow.

10:08AM Where did the money come from? Investigators found a safe in a back office with $250,000 in cash. In another location, another safe owned by Ferguson, there was more cash. In 2008, when he was about to end his mayorship, his first order of business was to make sure that Ferguson got paid as soon as possible. Ferguson made a mistake by hiring an outsider to help with cash.

"Let's get us some money" "Can we eff with his permit?" "I'm about to kill this deal" This is extortion, bribery and fraud. They broke their oath to serve this city. It was the citizens of Detroit who got the short end of the stick. At the end of this case, we ask for guilty verdict.

9:53AM In this trial you will see a different side of Kwame, one behind closed doors. After city got wind of contracts, Kwame and Ferguson strategized how to hide their success. Christine Beatty "Why not Ferguson on this?"

Kwame "Ferguson wanted to purposefully lose this."

When a reporter asked about their relationship, Kwame told Ferguson "Don't confirm none of that"

Ferguson walked down the street with $40,000 in cash in his briefcase to give to the mayor.

Kwame Kilpatrick and Ferguson could not operate alone. They needed Victor Mercado. He was indispensable to the team. Mercado came through by holding up contracts. He ignored protections by rigging and steering bids to Ferguson. When a bid a Ferguson bid came in $2.5 million higher than a better qualified contractor, Mercado gave it to Ferguson. He lied about it to a judge. This is obstruction of justice.

Mercado received more than $240,000 a year. That was more than the mayor. He never told federal judge of wrong doing. He did hire a company to sweep his office for bugs.

The defendants had another partner, Bernard Kilpatrick. He did not act like an elder statesman. He did opposite and cut himself into the action.

Within months of his son getting elected, he held after hour business meetings at his office. Derrick Miller attended these meeting and will tell you it was about how to make the most money from the city.

Bernard like son deposited in bank accounts- more than $680,000 in cash.

Like Ferguson, there were consequences if he was not paid as he felt he should be. He felt Jim Rosendall had not paid him enough money.

Bernard on wiretap warning Rosendall "Yeah man this is BK. I appreciate a phone call. Vacation or no (expletive) vacation."

Rosendall eventually arrested by FBI and agreed to make tapes. Rosendall met Bernard and his associate at a restaurant and offered $250,000 in cash.

A video of Bernard is played saying why he didn't take the money. There are only three people in the city he trusts and the associate wasn't one of them he is clearly heard saying. Two of the thre people he trusts are in the courtroom today.

You will hear from a number of city officials and vendors who participated in this scheme. This case does not rise and fall on a single witness.

9:43AM Ferguson intimidated police officers and business men. This is extortion and its a federal crime. More than $60 million in city revenues. Early on, Kwame and Ferguson figured out the water department was the cash source for the city.

Ferguson told city sewer contractors that he wanted 25% of contract. Kwame held up contract so that Ferguson could make his move. Lakeshore declined so Victor Mercado gave the contract to someone else. Lakeshore lost a $10 million contract for not cutting Ferguson in. didn't make the same mistake on next contract.

"No deal without me" Ferguson didn't have to twist arms. City contractors had the message loud and clear. They had to pay Ferguson for no work. Invoices with false descriptions of work that never happened. after Lakeshore received invoice, Lakeshore paid it. Each time he came, they paid- in 2005, 2006 and 2007. In all, the made 12 payments for 1.2 million for no work done.

Many of jobs in city had Ferguson name on it.

Costly disasters weren't a setback for Ferguson and Kilpatrick but opportunity to make money. They would strategize- "We need to meet on how we move in."

Victor Mercado was to give Ferguson 50% of subcontracting working.

In 2006, Kwame Kilpatrick's power over water department terminated. Having failed to keep his power, he had the judge authorize 5 more contracts, 4 of them were Ferguson's.

9:35AM Ferguson: "I'm famous now- just need to get some money"

Kilpatrick "LOL. Let's get you some money" Ferguson "US" 

What did Ferguson do with state arts grant? Sent first $100,000 to Kwame's wife.

After Kwame became mayor, Ferguson and Kwame ratched up their ambitions. Tens of millions of city dollars went to Ferguson.

Fraud, bribery and extortion. You will hear specifically about the Kilpatrick Civic Fund.

Kwame Kilpatrick used the Civic Fund like a personal ATM. Used some of it for summer camp for his kids. Of it, he gave $50,000 to father Bernard Kilpatrick and $110,000 to Christine Beatty as "soft-landing."

Plays recording of Kwame saying "We haven't used one penny of Civic campaign because it's against the law." Used $159,000.

You will hear from Emma Bell, who was his chief fundraiser, and then made her kickback half her salary in cash.

Kwame Kilpatrick charged with bribery. You will also hear from Derrick Miller who rose to be chief administrator. Miller will tell you that he had his own bribe transactions and kicked some of it back to the mayor.

Bobby Ferguson was private contractor but you will see he had unparalleled access, 24/7 access, to city hall. He could pop his head into high level meetings. With this access, came power. He could do almost anything he wanted.

9:27AM U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow. "Let's get us some money" "It's my time to get paid" These are the words of the defendants says Chutkow. They made themselves rich from the money of the city. Before Kilpatrick became mayor, his bank account looked like ours. That all changed when he became mayor of Detroit. Being mayor of Detroit not his only source of income. Month after month he deposited money in his accounts. Over $200,00 in cash in his bank accounts. As mayor he suddenly had extra cash. When his credit card bill was due, he paid in cash- $3,000-$4000 a month. Over $280,000 in bills paid in cash. His suits paid in cash. As mayor he used more than $540,000 in cash that went above his salary. Not included in taxes. Where did money come from. not his salary, rich relative or investments. When he became mayor, the flow of cash went from taking out to deposits. Vacations, custom made suits. How was it bankrolled? Another man rose to power- Bobby Ferguson. He called Kilpatrick boss. He steered 10s of millions of money towards Ferguson.

9:26AM Judge concludes

9:22AM Judge outlines juror conduct. Jurors not to talk to anyone about the case. "It's your verdict we want in this case." Jurors are encouraged to take notes. There will be a 3 hole photograph binder so that jurors can take notes on the pictures of the witnesses. Jurors cannot get any information from outside the confines of the courtroom. Can't discuss the case with anybody, including other jurors, until they actually deliberate. If anyone violates the instructions, judge asks to be made aware. "Opening statements are not evidence in the case- simply an outline. A completed jigsaw puzzle at the beginning to serve as an outline for the case."

9:20AM "I know that's a lot of material", the judge tells the jurors. "Should help you understand the framework."

9:15AM Judge reads the indictments. The defendants are charged with running a criminal enterprise and alleged crimes include extortion, bribery, obstruction of justice and wire and mail fraud.

9:08AM "You must make your decision based only on the evidence you see in court", Judge Nancy Edmunds tells the jurors. The jury instructions are crucial because of the plethora of evidence the jurors will be faced with.

9:05AM Judge reading preliminary instructions to jurors. Should take about 20 minutes.

9:02 a.m. Jurors filter in and are seated.

8:57 a.m. Judge calls the court to order. Defense and government lawyers introduce themselves. Courtroom has never looked so full. 2 camera different angles but unfortunately we won't get to see the jurors' faces from the media rooms. Kwame Kilpatrick is in a soberly attired in a dark suit and bow tie. Everyone looks pretty tense as they anticipate the beginning of opening statements.

About the author:

Alexandra Harland is a Princeton undergrad and has a masters degree in International affairs with Columbia. A Montreal native, she worked with the Daily Telegraph newspaper for a few years before transitioning to TV, when she worked at ABC News with Peter Jennings. Alexandra has also worked in newsrooms in both Detroit and Boston.

 

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