Mansion Party Depositions Under Way
Updated On: Jul 28 2010 08:41:51 AM EDT
Depositions are under way for several high-ranking Detroit leaders in the investigation into the rumored-but-never-proven Manoogian Mansion party.
Former Detroit Police Chief Ella-Bully Cummings testified under oath Tuesday.
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's former chief of staff, Christine Beatty, is set to be deposed Wednesday. Kilpatrick's deposition is planned for Thursday.
Carlita Kilpatrick and Bernard Kilpatrick are expected to give depositions in the Greene lawsuit in August.
They have asked a federal judge to quash a request to depose them. Their attorneys said they will invoke their Fifth Amendment rights during the deposition and Carlita Kilpatrick will use her spousal privileges against providing information against her husband.
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Bully-Cummings' sworn testimony comes just one day after the Local 4 Defenders obtained a signed affidavit from a man who says he was hired to work security at the party.
Tamara Greene, a dancer known as Strawberry, was rumored to have been at the alleged party thrown by then mayor Kwame Kilpatrick in 2002.
On April 30, 2003, Greene was in a car with her boyfriend on Detroit's west side when a gunman opened fire on their vehicle, killing Greene and wounding the boyfriend.
Kilpatrick has publicly denounced the party, saying, ?It never happened.?
Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox also investigated the rumors and concluded that the party had ?all the earmarks for an urban legend.?
But sworn testimony by a Dearborn man, Wilson Kay, claims he was at the party and saw Cox there.
?I attended a party at the Manoogian Mansion in Detroit, Michigan, in 2002, at which I witnessed Kwame Kilpatrick, Bernard Kilpatrick, and Mike Cox in attendance ? Myself and others at my motorcycle club were hired to work security at the party,? the affidavit reads.
There are also statements that read Kay saw exotic dancers performing lap dances.
?I witnessed female exotic dancers present at the party who were performing for various persons in attendance, including Kwame Kilpatrick ? I saw Mike Cox getting a lap dance from one of the female exotic dancers while he was present at the party,? a line reads.
Kay's testimony also states he saw Kilpatrick?s wife, Carlita, arrive to the party unannounced and assault Greene.
?During the party, Kwame Kilpatrick's wife, Carlita Kilpatrick, arrived unexpectedly and observed Tamara Greene performing a lap dance on Kwame Kilpatrick ? I then saw Carlita Kilpatrick punch Tamara Greene, causing Tamara Greene to fall onto a coffee table and to break the coffee table. Carlita Kilpatrick then grabbed a table leg from the broken coffee table and struck Tamara Greene once with the wooden table leg.?
"Finally someone coming forward and saying, 'Yes, I was at the party.' Kwame was there, Bernard was there and Tammy Greene was there and she took a severe beating at the hands of Carlita Kilpatrick," said Birmingham lawyer Norman Yatooma, who is representing Greene's family in a $150 million wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Detroit.
Yatooma's lawsuit claims Kilpatrick and high-ranking police obstructed the investigation into Greene's unsolved slaying because it would reveal the truth about the never-proven party.
"I have no reason at all to believe that he is not giving us absolute honest to God's truth, and he swore to it. He swore under oath," said Yatooma.
Attorney General Responds
Cox, who is running for governor of Michigan, called the timing of the testimony a move to negatively influence his campaign.
"It is absolutely ridiculous. Here we have 800,000 people without jobs and we have a last minute shot to try and influence an election and try to get more money out of the city. After eight years?" Cox said. "If there was a witness wouldn?t we think that Kym Worthy would find a witness? That the state police would have found a witness? Gary Brown and researching his lawsuit would have found a witness."
Yatooma said the timing is not political and has nothing to do with the elections. He said it's the federal courts that schedule the dates of the depositions, and that's why this affidavit is coming out now.
Cox said he won't be put back by the accusations.
?It?s not a surprise, absolutely not a surprise. I?m a big boy, I?m a Marine, I can?t take some shots. And at the end of the day, I?ll let the people decide,? Cox said. "I think people know that I can stand up. I?m a 21-year prosecutor and I?ve had cops that have stood up for me, and I?m pretty confident that ,at the end of the day, people will make the right choice."
T. Berry, a former Detroit Police lieutenant who investigated the Greene homicide case, said he agrees with Cox.
?I think it?s ludicrous. I think it's phony baloney," he said.
Witness Has Criminal Background
Kay, 35, has a checkered criminal history.
1996: He pleaded guilty in Oakland County for breaking and entering and weapons charges.
1997: He was found guilty in Wayne County for attempted arson.
2001: He was found guilty of a weapons charge and possessing marijuana.
Local 4 has learned the Detroit Police Department arrested the witness multiple times between 1997 and 2004.
In June 2004, Kay was arrested on a felony warrant during a traffic stop and was taken back to the 12th precinct, where he, according to police "acted like he fainted" and was transported to the hospital.
Four months later, he filed a report saying police kicked him, broke his fingers, dragged him to a scout car and brought him to the hospital and when he woke up, he was back in his prison cell.
If it's found that Kay gave false testimony while under oath, he could face up to two years in prison.
Several attempts to contact Kay at his Dearborn house were unanswered. Dearborn police confirm that Kay had filed a request for police protection.
Cox's office also issued a statement Tuesday questioning prior testimony given by retired police dispatcher Sandra Cardenas, who claimed she dispatched police cars to a disturbance at the mayor's mansion in 2002.
"Eight years later, in the last hours before an election, again here comes (sic) more unsubstantiated claims," the statement reads. "In fact, a judge tossed out her testimony because she couldn't remember if she remembered. Ms. Cardenas repeatedly failed to name a single person who supposedly told her this information and could not name a single date. Even Gary Brown says all this last minute information is not true."
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