Updated: Kwame's Attorney Says Star Fed Witnesses 'Bought and Paid For'

February 11, 2013, 1:19 PM by  Allan Lengel

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Updated: Tuesday, 10:30 a.m. --  Kwame Kilpatrick's family is on hand to watch his lawyer deliver closing arguments. His wife, children, sister and mother are in the gallery. His attorney Jim Thomas is arguing that three of the government's star witnesses are "bought an paid for", meaning they testified against the ex-mayor in exchange for a break in their own criminal cases.  He also was skeptical of businessmen who testified that they gave gifts and bribes because they feared they would get locked out of city contracts.

Before trial began, he posted this on Facebook: " Victory Day! Blessed to have my Squad with me. Boots laced, and ready to roll. :-) God is Good! #blessedandhighlyfavored." He also posted a photo (below) of his family right before court began this morning.

Below was the closing arguments by the government on Monday

By Allan Lengel

Federal prosecutor Mike Bullotta loaded up with plenty of ammunition and never stopped firing away Monday afternoon during a forceful closing argument in the Kwame Kilpatrick corruption trial.

Standing in front of a lectern, before jurors, he said Kilpatrick turned the mayor's office into "a private profit machine" in what the government dubbed "Kilpatrick Incorporated."

He said the mantra of corrupt organization, made of up Kilpatrick, his dad Bernard Kilpatrick and friend Bobby Ferguson -- was "no deal without me." 

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"If you wanted a city contract, you had to pay," Bullotta said. "If you didn't pay, you didn't get a contract." He added that the citizens of Detroit lost out.

All three defendants  face multiple charges including Racketeer Influence Corrupt Organization (RICO), a charge that alleges that men operated a criminal enterprise known as Kilpatrick Incorporated. The charge is usually reserved for mob and drug trafficking cases.

The defendants appeared more serious than normal today. At times, they looked pained as Bullotta delivered his closing.

Bullotta laid out one allegation after another of how Kilpatrick and company shook down contractors, who feared if they didn't hire Kilpatrick's friend Ferguson for construction work, the contract would be cancelled.  He cited contract after contract that Kilpatrick delayed or cancelled or denied if Ferguson wasn't included.

During trial, the defense tried portraying Kilpatrick and Ferguson as being concerned about getting minorities business in the city.

"The defendants would like you to believe that they're all about helping minorities," he said. "But the only color that mattered to Kilpatrick Incorporated was green. "

Bullotta managed in the closings to streamline the bulky case and provide a clear narrative of the government's allegations before the packed courtroom that included Robert D. Foley III, head of the Detroit FBI.

Bullotta showed how Kilpatrick spent $840,000 more than he earned as mayor between 2002 and 2008. He showed that Kilpatrick had no bank cash deposits in 2000.  But in 2002, after taking office, he started depositing cash -- and in all, made more than $500,000 in deposits during his tenure. Bullotta said the money came from kickbacks from Ferguson for helping him land contracts and from bribes from businesses who had contracts with the city. 

He alleged that contractors were forced to subcontract with Ferguson and sometimes had to pay him for no work just to keep or land a contract.

Bullotta touched on the Kilpatrick Civic Fund, a non-profit that was designed to help the community. He said Kilpatrick illegally used the fund on things like vacations, yoga lessons and his campaign. 

Bullotta took about a 10 minutes break,  and resumed after 1:30 p.m.

After the break, he mentioned Kathleen McCann, a vice-president of Soave Enterprises, who had lucrative contracts with the city and was forced to use Ferguson for subcontracting work.

Bullotta recounted her testimony during trial, saying she thought doing business with Ferguson was like "a forced marriage" Bullotta said she felt like she was "breathing...air that was thick with threats" when she met with Ferguson and found him to be a bully.

Bullotta took aim Bernard Killpatrick as well.

He talked about the time Kilpatrick met at the Manoogian Mansion with James Rosendall, an executive for Synagro, a sludge hauling company that turned waste into fertilizer. He said Kilpatrick introduced him to his father and said he would have to use him as a consultant. 

"This is the man I want you to work with," Rosendall says he was told. Eventually, Synagro got a $1.1 billion contract.

Bullotta said Synagro gave Bernard Kilpatrick gifts and  cash even though he really didn't do anything.

 Bullotta said: "Bernard Kilpatrick was no consultant." 

He also pointed out that Kilpatrick refused to take money in a restaurant from Rosendall, who was actually wired by the FBI.  Bullotta then played a video in which Bernard Kilpatrick scolded Rosendall for trying to pass money to him in public.

Bullotta also pointed out that Bernard Kilpatrick patted down Karl Kado, a contractor with the Cobo Center, for an FBI wire after Kado showed him a letter from the FBI showing that Kado was a target of an investigation.

Would a consultant frisk his client for a recording device, Bullotta asked.

In concluding his arguments,  Bullotta said of Kwame Kilpatrick:

"He wanted money, he wanted power, he wasn’t so interested in responsibility."

"He thought the rules didn't apply to him."

On Tuesday, Jim Thomas, Kwame Kilpatrick's attorney, will deliver his closing argument. John Shea, Bernard Kilpatrick's attorney, will follow . As of now, there's no court on Wednesday. On Thursday, Gerald Evelyn, Bobby Ferguson's attorney will deliver his closings and then the government will deliver a rebuttable before the jury begins deliberating.

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