Testimony from businessman continues in Kilpatrick federal corruption trial
Updated On: Oct 19 2012 03:09:55 PM EDT
Day 17 recap
Three sisters testified today to signing money orders on Bobby Ferguson's instructions in order to circumvent limits on personal donations to Kwame Kilpatrick's mayoral campaign.
Ferguson's former lover Renee Newsome testified along with sisters Josephine Johnson and Darlene Jefferson to being asked to sign money orders in July 2004. The contractor presented each of the women with 4 money orders totaling $3,400. The orders were unambiguously made out to "Kilpatrick for Mayor". The limit for personal contributions to a political campaign is $3,400.
When Ferguson heard that his girlfriend of 7 years was to be questioned by the FBI, he told her to "stick to your story." Newsome admitted that as a result she initially lied to investigators about the money orders
U.S. Attorney Jennifer Blackwell asked the witness what Ferguson meant when he said that.
"That the money was mine," replied Newsome.
Newsome's sister Darlene Jefferson testified that in 2005, before she was due to testify to a grand jury, Ferguson came into her bedroom and told her to say that the money never came from him. Jefferson said that Ferguson warned her if she didn't, it would fall back on her sister Renee and "she would get in trouble for the money order."
All three sisters were refunded the full amount of the campaign contributions around the time they were being questioned by the FBI. They testified they never returned the money to Ferguson.
Earlier in the morning, convicted businessman Jon Rutherford was asked by Kwame Kilpatrick defense lawyer Jim Thomas if he had any expectation of remuneration or reward for his various financial contributions to the Kilpatricks. No replied Rutherford. This seemed contrary to yesterday's testimony which indicated he hoped that he would land an ambitious casino project on the East Riverfront in return for his financial favors.
Witness Ahmad Chebbani, the co-founder of the Arab-American Chamber of Commerce, told the court about a trip to Dubai in May 2002. Chebbani led a Detroit trade delegation that included Kwame Kilpatrick, his former bodyguard Loronzo Jones and former aide Derrick Miller. On the last night of the four day trip, Kilpatrick left in the middle of a dinner with high-ranking Dubai officials in order to get fitted for a suit. Yesterday Rutherford testified to giving Killpatrick $10,000 for suits for the Dubai trip.
Upon return from the trip, Chebbani said he got a call from Miller asking about the shipping of suits. The witness said he was surprised by the question and told him he knew nothing about it. Miller told him that it seemed the suits had gotten lost in the mail.
Ernest Johnson of non-profit Community Coalition testified that he was contacted by Bernard Kilpatrick in 2001. Kilpatrick wanted the civic organization to endorse Kwame for mayor in the upcoming election. Johnson testified to receiving nearly $90,000 from Rutherford's DPR Management LLC to help pay for staffers who distributed election brochures and drivers who would take voters to the polls. On election day in November 2001, Johnson met with Rutherford to get a check for several thousand which he cashed at a grocery store.
"People at the top of the slate pay the slate," said Johnson.
Court resumes on Monday at 9AM.
8:38AM Courtroom is slowly filling up. Bobby Ferguson and Bernard Kilpatrick are already at the defendants table with their lawyers.
Kwame Kilpatrick enters and walks straight over to Bobby to talk to him. Victor Mercado is the last of the defendants to arrive this morning.
We'll be continuing testimony today from homeless shelter owner Jon Rutherford. The convicted felon testified yesterday to essentially bankrolling Kwame and Bernard in the hopes of landing a casino project on the East Riverfront. The deal would have yielded Rutherford up to a $25 million payout. Unfortunately for sugar daddy, his casino dreams never materialized.
Rutherford's testimony took the better part of the morning yesterday and the government hasn't even finished questioning him yet. Cross examination is likely to be long- both Jim Thomas, Kwame's defense lawyer, and John Shea, Bernard's lawyer, are bound to have countless questions for him.
Supposed to start early this morning to take up a legal matter before the jurors arrive.
8:51AM Judge Nancy Edmunds enters the courtroom declaring "Everyone happy this morning?"
Judge Edmunds talking about Rutherford. "I'm not going to say he was hostile, he was rough. But that's who he is."
Judge Edmunds tells the lawyers she will not be calling Rutherford a hostile witness. Calls the jurors in.
8:54AM "Sugar Daddy" Jon Rutherford takes the stand. Mark Chutkow for the government will be continuing questioning.
Chutkow is asking Rutherford about what Bernard's hopes were after Kwame was elected. Chutkow says that Rutherford had told him he didn't remember the conversation.
Now talking about grand jury testimony in April 2010 when Chutkow and Michael Bullotta asked Rutherford a series of questions. He hands the witness the transcript of that testimony.
Chutkow reads grand jury transcript of Rutherford saying :"Bernard used to sometimes reference "Coleman Young got paid and I'm going to get paid too."
Rutherford tells Chutkow he still doesn't remember conversation but if that's the transcript then that's the transcript.
Apparently. Bernard told this to Rutherford at the bar Floods in downtown Detroit.
Government is done.
8:59AM John Shea cross-examines. Shea hands Rutherford a copy of the contract with Maestro Associates. Witness says he can't remember who prepared the contract. The contract reads "Consulting Agreement". It was made effective in April 2002 between Maestro Associates and DPR Management LLC. The contract was signed by both Rutherford and Bernard.
Shea lists Bernard's accomplishments in government and illustrates his value. Shea syas that witness had similar contract with Curtis Hertel and 6th Communications.
Bernard worked on the Granholm campaign in 2002 and ex-husband of Carolyn cheeks Kilpatrick, so he had ties to state and federal government says Shea. Thus not unusual to want to hire him, right? Yes says Rutherford.
"Some people they communicate different. If you communicate verbally that's ok with me." Rutherford describing why he didn't need written reports from Bernard.
Shea said some of the consultants contracted by Rutherford did more work certain months than others, right? Yes replied Rutherford.
"Governments can starve you with contracts by not paying you on time." says Rutherford.
Shea says that Bernard would look into why Rutherford was not getting paid by Wayne County Community Health, right? Yes says Rutherford. Bernard and Rutherford parted was when Bernard got on the board of Wayne County Community Health because of obvious conflict. So Bernard gave up his $10,000 contract with Rutherford in order not to have conflict with the Health board asks Shea. Yes replies Rutherford.
9:11AM Jim Thomas cross examines.
Thomas asks if Kwame ever received money from Kilpatrick for Congress. Rutherford replies he has no knowledge of that.
Thomas asks did you not embrace those who ideals were similar to your won? Yes.
And that was the case with Kwame? Yes.
And you had no expectation of reward or remuneration? No.
No redirects. Wow. Witness is dismissed. That is incredible. I thought that would go one for much longer. Defense never even referenced that Rutherford was a convicted felon.
9:15AM Eric Doeh for government. New witness is Ahmad Chebbani. He is self-employed with OMNEX Accounting Services which provides tax and accounting services. He is the co-founder of the Arab-American Chamber of Commerce.
In May of 2002, witness was the chairman of the Arab-American Chamber of Commerce. As part of the organization, the witness led a delegation to Dubai that included the former mayor, Loronzo Jones, Derrick Miller and some staffers and board member of the Chamber of Commerce. The former mayor was the lead person on the trip to sign an agreement with 2 cities. they met with the mayor of Dubai, the ruler of Dubai and other business people. There were high-ranking officials and ruling class of Dubai.
The trip did not last more than 4 days. Long days of meetings to see city developments. There was a dinner on the last day of the trip. Everyone on the trade delegation from Detroit and ministers of economic trade from Dubai. Jones, Miller and the former mayor at this dinner. The former got up to leave from the dinner and the witness asked him where he was going. Kwame said he was going to get fitted for suits. The dinner with the high-ranking officials had not yet concluded.
It seems that the night previous to the dinner, Kwame had gone shopping for suits. Kwame never returned to the dinner with the high-ranking Dubai officials.
Upon return from the trip, witness got a call from Derrick Miller.
Thomas objects for hearsay. Judge overrules. Says that they can have a sidebar to explain her ruling.
Sidebar ends. Everything stops so juror can get her glasses.
Derrick Miller asked witness if he knew anything about shipping suits. Witness surprised and said he didn't know anything about shipping of suits. Miller said they might have been lost in the mail.
9:27AM. Jim Thomas cross examines. Asks about purposes of the Chamber of Commerce and if the witness was active in setting ip events.
Witness says they were treated very nicely in Dubai.
They met met Sheik Hamdan and met many other high-ranking officials. The idea was to promote trade between 2 municipalities. Witness says Dubai had lots of good developments and Detroit wanted to learn from them.
There were many meetings, lectures and seminars.
In Arab culture, meals are very important asks Thomas. Yes says witness? So there were many meals organized ? Yes.
Thomas asks if there was staff available at all times to translate? Yes.
Was there ever a meeting with Sheik Mohammed? Yes.
Thomas says didn't the former mayor work hard too? Yes.
9:31AM Doeh redirects. Kwame did not leave dinner alone he was with Lorenzo Jones.
9:32AM Thomas redirects. Did you see the mayor brandishing lots of cash? No.
So you don't even know if he got the suits? No.
9:33AM New witness takes the stand. It's Ernest Johnson of the Community Coalition. Eric Doeh for the government questions.
Johnson is a life-long resident of Detroit. Describes Community Coalition, helps people get elected, gives turkeys away and help kids.
Community Coalition started in 1997 as a non-profit organization later on became a PAC. Johnson was a chairperson. Junius Williams was the Treasurer of the Community Coalition. They started out with a couple of hundred people. In 2001, there were about a hundred people. There was a $10 membership fee.
"We would pass the hat around" says the witness about collecting dues.
In 2002, Community Coalition was contacted by Bernard. "We talked about a lot of things. We talked about Kwame running for Mayor." Wrong date- it was 2001 they had this conversation.
Bernard told Johnson he wanted him to help get Kwame get elected. The Coalition would advise people to vote. Bernard wanted the Coalition to endorse Kwame. The staffers of the Coalition who delivered flyers had to be paid and at the time it was a non-profit.
The Coalition staffers were paid $80 a day if they worked from 7AM to 8PM. About 100 people working. There were maybe 25 people at meetings where hat was passed around. Usually got more than $200. 20 drivers would get $100- so $2,000. Drivers would drive voters directly to polls. Had to get donations to pay these staffers and feed them.
Witness says he only heard about Jon Rutherford from reading the paper. Met Rutherford on the day of the election to get a check to pay the workers. Johnson called Bernard to get money to pay workers. Rutherford was going to provide that money.
Witness met Rutherford at the Milner Center on election. Rutherford gave Johnson a check for $7,275. Johnson went to the manager of a grocery market and told him how he wanted it cashed.
Shows witness a 2001 check for $45,000. From DPR- no one else gave checks of that amount. Another 2001 check for $35,000 from DPR to Community Coalition. Again, no one else gave large checks like this to the Community Coalition.
John Shea objects to questioning. Sustained.
Doeh asks if there was any remaining money from Rutherford's donation. witness says there was about $184 left after election.
9:51AM John Shea cross examines.
Shea says Coalition was originally formed to support Detroit-owned casinos, against outsiders. Even after that died down, the Community Coalition continues.
There were other issues of concern in the community and the Coalition would identify candidates to support.
Supported many people including Governor Granholm.
Shea says Coalition known for neighborhood and candidate advocacy. Would hand out brochures, go door to door and active in getting people out to vote. Wanted to promote the importance of being involved and voting.
Shea says Coalition had no money, right? Yes.
So when people came with money you needed that? "Yes to feed the troops." "People at the top of the slate pay the slate" says Johnson.
Shea says from the beginning you were ready to endorse Kwame and didn't need Bernard to come to you? Right.
Thomas says "medical emergency." Gets a tissue and hands it to Kwame. Think he was joking about the emergency.
And you didn't want gil hill for mayor? No says Johnson because he was going to vote for another casino.
Johnson says about Sheila Cockrel "I wasn't doing her" He's talking about endorsing her but Kwame and Bobby are cracking up big time.
10:00AM Eric Doeh redirects.
Asks about $7275 check signed by Junius Williams.
Witness steps down.
10:01AM Mark Chutkow for government. FBI agent Bob Beeckman takes the stand.
Talking about the November 2001 prize fight tickets. Credit card statement for Mandalay Bay indicates the tickets were purchased November 14th 2001.
FBI subpoenaed records for the Mandalay Bay that show a stay for Kwame and Bobby. Kwame stayed 11/16 to 11/18. There were a series of room charges on that stay.
Same dates of check-in and check out for Bobby at the Mandalay Bay.
Looking at Arthur Blackwell and Zinovia Blackwell stay on 11/16 through 11/17.
There is also a record for Jon and Erica Rutherford on 11/16 and 11/17.
Obviously, Rutherford, Kwame, Blackwell and Bobby all at the Manadalay Bay in Las Vegas at the exact same time.
Now text message on July 10th 2002 from Loronzo Jones to Derrick Miller: Loronzo to Miller: "Mr. Mayor did we get our clothes in yet from Dubai."
Check from DPR to Next Vision foundation dated October 22nd 2002 for $5,000.
Another text message. This one from Bernard to Kwame :"Jon Rutherford who just gave $5,000 to foundation and Nataki wants you to flip the coin tomorrow at Ford Field for King Murray Wright Championship game then you can leave. Is it possible?" "Nataki" is Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick
Kwame: "I have a town hall meeting tomorrow. I really want to go but can't,"
Now we are looking at an incorporation document from Maestro Associates. The date is December 21st 2001- right before Kwame became mayor.
Yesterday we heard testimony that Rutherford advised Bernard on where to open an account. We are looking at the first check to Maestro from DPR for $10,000 on April 1st 2002- this was introduced yesterday. The government shows the signature card for Bernard's account at Heath One Credit Union dated April1st 2002, same day the check was made out from DPR to Maestro Associates.
Text Message April 23rd 2002 from Bernard to Derrick Miller. Exhibits 36-45 a series texts.
"I have a 10:00 breakfast with my client Jon Rutherford who says you won't call him back, .which is cool cause he should go through me. I would appreciate a call."
Text from Bernard to Kwame May 14 2002
Bernard: " Good! Are you still trying to go to Vegas this weekend? Steelman and Rutherford want to talk to you. I can hook you up at the Green Ranch Valley Resort."
Text Bernard to Kwame May 17th 2002
B: "What time you leaving? I need about 15 minutes.
K: "I'm leaving tomorrow at Saturday morning."
B: "What is the best time for you JR and Rutherford to meet? Maybe breakfast."
Can't keep up with these text message!
From Ayanna to Bernard March 6th 2003:
A: "The Next Vision Foundation is in dire straights for a minute. I won't get my $1240 paycheck this week. Need to hit you up for anything 500-1000..." Asks him to hit up Rutherford.
Ayanna saying she is looking for sponsors.
Bernard: "I need background on this to recruit some sponsors."
From Bernard to Kwame March 6th 2003
B: "Where will this guy be around 3:30. Right after my haircut I will stop by the office... (this guy is Bernard and Kwame referring to each other) ZIZ...Don't
K: I'll be in the office."
B:" Cool. tomorrow is my last day with Rutherford."
Check for $5,000 on March 7th 2003 from DPR to Maestro and Associates. The check is issued a day after the previous text.
A text on December 22nd 2003 from Kwame to Bernard
Text on January 19th 2004 from Derrick Miller to Kwame
Miller tells Kwame "you are on the right track with Port authority."
Kwame: "You like that s*hit Steelman had."
Miller" not exactly but Port authority" can get it done.
Text between Derrick Miller and Kwame on December 30th 2004
Miller: "Just talked to Jon Rutherford" About Venetian wanting to come in. Mentions financing mechanism
Text between Lisa Nosarini (a secretary)and Derrick Miller on January 12th 2005
N: "Boss guy from Venetian wants to a quick dinner Monday night., is that cool?"
Text between Derrick Miller and Kwame on February 1st 2005
M:Denise is setting up Venetian tomorrow. Do you still need the 18th."
Denise Vaughn was a secretary to Derrick Miller.
Going to take a 20 minute break.
Witness stands down.
10:55AM Break is over. Judge says she'll hear defense objections. John Shea, lawyer for Bernard, doesn't like the way FBI agent Beckman is reading the text messages and the identifications that have been made.
Judge says she doesn't have problem with question of identification. Says the jury is smart enough to figure things out.
Gerald Evelyn, lawyer for Bobby Ferguson, says the court has to be careful about "opinion" testimony coming in.
Judge says she is happy to give instruction to the jury on an interim basis.
US Attorney Mark Cutco says they are trying to be careful too but without context the text messages have no meaning. Chutkow says there is an issue about the jurors he may want to take up. Judge says they will take it up at a sidebar at the end of the day.
There were so many texts earlier my head was spinning. Nothing too exciting except it gives some context to earlier evidence introduced.
11:02AM Beeckman back at the stand.
Chutkow asks him about fund-raising activities. Looking at Bobby's role in fund-raising.
New exhibits of KM- "Kilpatrick for Mayor". Text between Kwame and Bobby on January 21 2004
K: "We have raised... drumroll ...$1,710,109.40."
B: "Hell you know we are greedy...."
Text between Kwame and Bobby on June 29th 2004
Robert from Crain's only asked one question about you. How do we know each other? I said I don't remember. He asked did I give contribution cash. I said no grass roots just passing out literature.
K: Did you get to talk about your company?
B: "Hell yeah..."
From Kwame to Bobby July 13th 2004
K: "you ready for tomorrow event:
B: no reply
K: "Got to have a mil.."
B: "I am always ready to go. I am one of your soldiers."
Talk about raising more
K: "You are more than that....
11:08AM John Shea cross examines. Asking agent Beeckman about Jon Rutherford's testimony.
Looking at an exchange between Bernard and Christine Beatty
B: "I need to talk to you about monies owed to Jon Rutherford by the Mental Health Board..."
C: "Call me in the office in 10 mins."
B: "Will do.".
Shea says this is consistent with some calls that Bernard made on Rutherford's behalf to get payment going.
11:12AM Jim Thomas asking about meeting that took place in Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on the weekend of November 2001 when Kwame was mayor-elect.
Thomas says that Kwame took a position during mayoral campaign that he was against casinos being placed south of Jefferson. Queuing up clip of Detroit mayoral debate with Gil Hill, Local 4's Guy Gordon moderating
"Look at how young Guy Gordon looks" says Thomas.
Gordon asking about casinos. Gil Hill replies first. Kwame says that as mayor he will control where casinos will go. Have spent so much time talking about where casinos are going. Kwame clearly says "Casinos should not be on the Riverfront. They should not be on the Riverfront."
2 weeks after this debate, the meeting took place at Mandalay Bay. At that point, Motor City casino was Mandalay Bay off the lodge. MGM off the lodge as well. Greektown casino off of I-75. FBI investigation found lots of land speculation at the time.
Greektown was acquired by third party that was not Rutherford.
Cobo Hall was undergoing renovations at the time.
Thomas references prize fight tickets. Thomas says you have no evidence Kwame got tickets? Right says Beeckman.
Also establish that Kwame didn't sit with Rutherford at the fight.
11:21AM Chutkow redirects.
Chutkow asks why he didn't get the tickets
Thomas objects and asks for sidebar. Kwame reading his inspirational verses.
Chutkow moves on to the club from October 28th 2001. Asks if he recalls that Kwame said casinos should not be on the Riverfront. Beckman says that he does.
Text from Miller to Kwame on December 30th 2004 "Just talked with John Rutherford. Venetian wants to come in on the 17th to discuss riverfront piece complete with convention facility I will work with Iris on Monday. Extra tax on slots sounds like financing mechanisms to pay off bonds...."
Text on May 2002 between Bernard and Kwame: Bernard asks if he is still interested in meeting with architect Steelman and John Rutherford."
So this is only months after the election asks Chutkow? Yes replies the FBI agent.
Text between miller and Kwame where Kwame asks "You like that shit Steelman had?"
Chutkow asks if Steelman ever changed proposed location for casino. No says Beeckman.
11:27AM Jim Thomas redirects.
Goes back to the December 20th 2004 text between Miller and Kwame about the Venetian.
So at this point Greektown staying where it is, MGM and Motor City as well? Yes says Beeckman.
Thomas asks do you know what happened to land south of Jefferson? No says Beeckman.
Did you know that the $150 million set aside for the casinos was forgiven? No.
But no casino was ever put in place by Rutherford? No says Beeckman.
Do casinos or conventions make more money? Don't have enough experience to give you an answer.
"Don't guess," says Thomas. "I'm afraid of what you'll say."
Now to text between Bernard and Kwame about the possible meeting with Steelman.
Thomas says the meeting took only 15 minutes.
11:32AM Chutkow redirects again.
Thomas asked you about Venetian may have plans to build conference center with no casino. References the Venetian text which clearly talks about "slots."
11:32AM Thomas redirects again.
Witness steps down.
11:34AM New witness takes the stand. Eric Doeh questions George Brown.
Witness resides in Detroit. In 2003, he worked for Bobby Ferguson. He worked for him until 2010. Helped with permits for plumbing and water. Would fuel the trucks. Primarily located on Wyoming with Ferguson Enterprises.
Witness knew Bobby before 2003 because he had worked for his father as well for 4 or 5 years. Had owned a business at one point called George Brown excavating.
Helped Bobby with installing water. Bobby is witness's nephew, "calls me his uncle".
In July 2004, Brown was working for Bobby and Ferguson presented him with some checks. The company check issued by is Ferrous Processing & Trading Co (scrap metal company) to Ferguson Enterprises for $3,250 on July 15th 2004. One of the signatures on the back is George Brown.
2, another check $2,362.67. 3. Another for $4,995.36. 4. Another check 2,143.39. All checks signed by Bobby and witness. 5. Another check for $1,051.07.
Brown took the checks to Comerica Bank.
6. Another check from Ferrous $6,660. 7. Another check from Ferrous for $511.88. 8. Check for $10,407.56 from Ferrous. Again endorsed by Bobby and Brown. 9. Check from $4,575.72 paid to Ferguson Inc. 10. Last check for $5,662.14.
All told there are 10 checks from Ferrous to Ferguson Inc. Witness took the checks to Comerica Bank to take out money orders under Bobby's instructions in July 2004.
Brown went to bank possibly on 12th and 13th of July to make money orders. Got all money orders for $3,400- the campaign contribution limit.
Brown doesn't initially remember talking to FBI in November 2005. Doeh refreshes his memory with a document. Witness says he took the money orders, put them in a bag and took them to Bobby's office.
No more questions.
11:58AM Gerald Evelyn, Bobby's lawyer, redirects.
Brown was Bobby's father's brother. Taught both Bobby and his father the ropes about the business. Brown says he worked for large companies including Inland and Jenkins.
Evelyn asks about minority contracting from big companies.
Doeh objects and says this is far beyond scope. Judge permits.
Evelyn says you counseled Bobby not to be a minority front? Yes says Brown.
Do you know Charlie Williams in the construction business? I think I know him. Brown says he thinks when he knew him he worked in the water department.
12:03PM Jennifer Blackwell for government questions. Renee Newsome. Works at Henry Ford. Medical assistant for 15 years. Knows Bobby Ferguson for 17 years, knows him through a friend. Had a "personal" relationship about 8 years ago. Dated Bobby for about 7 years.
Bobby asked her to sign some money orders in July 2004. Witness was living with her sister at the time. There was more than one money order. there were 3 $1,000 and 1 for $400. she was with her sister and niece when she got them. She was in the dining room of her home when she signed the money orders.
The money orders are from Comerica. Clearly indicates paid to the order of "KILPATRICK FOR MAYOR". All made in witness's name and signed by her.
Again, the limit for campaign contributions by a single person is $3,400.
Witness knew Ferguson by WB. Sisters also signed money orders. they gave them back to Bobby that night. Witness says that Bobby paid for the money orders.
In 2005, Newsome was subpoenaed by Casino Gaming board and the state of Michigan. Was also contacted by the FBI who came to her job at Henry Ford. Before talking to the FBI, Bobby told her to "stick to your story" and tell them to tell them that it was her money. Talked to the FBI and told them it was her money.
At a later point, Newsome asked Bobby for some money to care for her sick father- it was $500. At some point, she received a federal grand jury subpoena. She talked to bobby about her and he told her to stick to her story. Bobby said her sister Darlene Jefferson should tell FBI she got the money from Newsome. Witness know that $3,400 is maximum you can donate to a campaign.
Witness admits she lied to the FBI about money orders being hers because Bobby told her to stick to her story. told amount she signed was $3,400 and her sister signed $3,400.
12:17PM Evelyn cross examines the witness.
Evelyn says Bobby may have told you it was for an election. He may have said here is money you can give it to the mayor? Yes.
So that money that you contributed in fact became your money? Yes.
These campaign checks were refunded? Yes.
That was true for you, your sister and money? Yes.
She was contacted by the Gaming Board by subpoena. Never testified to the Gaming Commission, they never told her why. Bobby withdrew his petition with Gaming Board for license and she never heard from them again.
Sister and niece also got subpoenas from Gaming Commission.
You and your relatives were never threatened by Mr. Ferguson? Right.
First time you told FBI agent it was your money. The $3,400 you contributed was given back to you? Yes.
Same for your sister and niece? Yes.
FBI called you at work? Did your sister call you and say they were coming? Yes.
At some point later FBI tells you they are investigating Bobby Ferguson. You're upset? Yes.
And you were thinking of getting out of the situation? Yes.
FBI agents told you about the $3,400 limit? Yes.
Experience with FBI is upsetting? Yes.
They told you you were in trouble? That i could be.
12:24PM Blackwell redirects.
Did the FBI also tell you you could be in trouble if you didn't tell the truth? Yes.
At the time you signed the money orders was that your money? No.
Whose was it? Mr. Ferguson's.
You received federal grand jury subpoena? Yes.
After that you talked to Bobby? Yes.
What did he tell you to do? "To stick to my story"
By stick to your story what did that mean? That the money was mine.
Was that the truth? No.
12:26PM Evelyn redirects.
Stick to your story was about Gaming Board subpoena? I can't remember.
Witness testified before grand jury in August 2005. Told the grand jury it was Gaming board? Yes.
So Bobby never gave directions about the grand jury because it was for the Gaming Board? Yes.
12:29PM Blackwell redirects. Shows witness her grand jury testimony again.
This is transcript of grand jury testimony? Yes.
August 4th 2005? Ok.
Do you recall questions and answers? That was 8 years ago laughs witness nervously. No.
What do you recall about talking to Bobby about money orders after FBI approached you? No I don't recall.
Blackewell reads transcript that indicates she told bobby that she was talking to FBI. Do you recall that? Yes.
12:32PM Evelyn gets up to redirect.
Evelyn reads the transcript and it says: "it was just me sticking to my story."
Witness steps down
12:34PM New witness is sworn in. Eric Doeh questions for government. Josephine Johnson is the witness. Knows Renee Newsome, it's her sister. knows Darlene Jefferson too. Has seen Bobby Ferguson at Darlene's house.
Witness says she was presented with money orders by Renee. Her sister told witness they were from Bobby Ferguson. Doeh hands witness a document- they are copies of a money order. the money orders are in the name of Josephine Johnson. Paid to the order of "KILPATRICK FOR MAYOR"- witness did not fill in that line. Doesn't know who filled it in. 3 separate money orders for $1,000 and 1 for $400.
Bobby is looking pretty cool throughout this though he is frequently leaning in to talk to his lawyer Gerald Evelyn.
Witness says money orders she had not earned and had never contributed to Kilpatrick campaign before. It was not her money she was contributing. Johnson received a refund for the full amount. Did not give the money back to Bobby Ferguson.
Clear implication that campaign gave back money when they heard feds were sniffing around.
Doeh says you never worked for Bobby? Correct.
July 18th 2005 has conversation with FBI. Received her refund after conversations with FBI.
12:43PM Gerald Evelyn asks an inaudible question.
Witness stands down.
12:43PM Jennifer Blackwell calls new witness. Could it be the other sister? It is! Darlene Jefferson takes the stand. Witness has known Bobby for 10 years through her sister Renee Newsome. Knew him by BW as well.
Remembers signing money orders at home on Hartwell in July 2004. Was living with sister Renee at the time. Renee gave her the money orders- told her that bobby asked if they could sign them.
Witness signed 4 money orders: 3 of $1,000 and 1 of $400. Money orders are made out to Kilpatrick for Mayor from Darlene Jefferson. total amount was for $3,400. the "Kilpatrick for Mayor" not in her handwriting. witness says she assumes money was Bobby Ferguson's.
In 2005, witness was subpoenaed by the Michigan Gaming board and to testify before the grand jury. Bobby contacted her before she testified to Gaming board about the license. Bobby also contacted her before she testified to grand jury. She pauses for a long time before saying she can't recall what he said.
Bobby came over to her house in 2005 before grand jury testimony. Bobby came into her bedroom and they talked about the money. He basically said to say the money didn't come from him. Witness told him she wouldn't lie if she ever went to court. Bobby told her that it would fall back on Renee because she gave her the money.
What did you understand it to mean when he said that it would fall back on your sister? That she would get in trouble for the money order.
12:53PM Evelyn redirects.
This goes back to 2004 and 2005, is it accurate to say your memory may not be so good? Yes.
Did you have more interaction with Gaming Board than with the grand jury? Yes.
Is it possible this conversation took place before the Gaming Board? Yes.
Witness steps down.
Jurors are dismissed for the weekend. Court resumes money at 9AM
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.