Kwame Kilpatrick is back in Detroit as jury process starts for federal trial
Updated On: Aug 08 2012 06:39:45 PM EDT
A court date has been set up next week to review a conflict of interest issue that was brought up today between Kwame Kilpatrick and his attorney, Jim Thomas.
The former Detroit mayor was at the federal courthouse as the jury process for his corruption trial began.
U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds didn't elaborate on what the conflict was, but said the two would need to come back next Monday to file a motion explaining what the conflict is and that she would then hold a hearing Tuesday on that motion.
In an interview with Local 4 News, Thomas said he also said he wouldn't comment on what the conflict was.
"It's an issue that was raised. At this point, it is evolving. It has not been decided," he said.
Uncut interview: Jim Thomas outside courthouse
He did say the issue was already putting a delay in the process. He said the legal teams were supposed to be getting the potential juror questionnaires back this week to review them, but they now will have to wait until after Tuesday's hearing. He said the legal teams will go though the questionnaires to try to "figure out what the jurors are saying about the case, publicity and any predispositions they might have."
Will the issue allow for Thomas to continue representing Kilpatrick?
"I'm his lawyer now and I'll be his lawyer forever, as far as I'm concerned," Thomas replied.
Kilpatrick back in Detroit
Only Local 4 News was at the corner of Fort and Shelby streets to greet Kilpatrick as he walked into the federal courthouse Wednesday morning.
Raw video: Kilpatrick arrives at courthouse
--Kilpatrick shakes Local 4 reporter Shawn Ley's hand
Kilpatrick said, “Hey how are you doing?” to our crew but refused to answer any other questions.
“How does it feel to be back in Detroit?” Local 4 asked Kipatrick.
Kilpatrick shook his head and his attorney said, “We’re not making any comments today.”
The disgraced former Mayor was dressed for the first official day of his corruption trial wearing a light colored suit, pink shirt and pink tie.
Rich McKinney shook Kilpatrick’s hand as he was walking toward the courthouse.
McKinney made it clear he wasn’t supporting Kilpatrick.
“I met him before on other business a while back. I don’t like what politicians like him are doing to this country,” McKinney said.
Survey of jurors continuing
400 prospective jurors were at the federal court to fill out questionnaires. Both sides will go over the questionnaires once they are completed and will pick 80 of them to finalize later this month. On Sept. 6, those 80 will be called for traditional jury selection.
Twelve people eventually will be selected to decide if the former mayor was running a criminal enterprise with family and friends which included taking cash bribes, kick backs, vacations, private jets and more in exchange for getting contracts in the city.
Other defendants in the case include Kilpatrick's dad Bernard Kilpatrick, his childhood friend Bobby Ferguson and ex-Detroit City Water boss Victor Mercado.
The crimes carry a 20-year prison penalty if convicted. Kilpatrick and prosecutors will be going over prospective jurors very closely.
Kilpatrick's trial expected to start in September
The opening statements are expected to being Sept. 14. Then, dozens, if not hundreds, of witnesses will be called to testify.
The trial is expected to take 3 or 4 months, meaning jurors may be spending Thanksgiving, Christmas and the new year close to the courthouse.
Read more: Kwame predicts future in interview
--Prospective jurors arrive Wednesday at federal court to fill out questionnaires.
Complete coverage: Kwame Kilpatrick's federal trial