DETROIT (AP) — Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick conspired with his father and best friend to turn City Hall into a den of bribes and kickbacks, a prosecutor said Friday as jurors heard opening statements in Kilpatrick's corruption trial.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow gave jurors a 40-minute overview of what they'll see and hear in the months ahead. He said Kilpatrick was an enthusiastic rising star in Michigan politics who moved from the state Legislature, then enriched himself with hundreds of thousands of dollars by muscling contractors, fooling political supporters and rigging city business.
"This was not politics as usual," Chutkow said. "This was extortion, bribery, fraud. … They broke their oath to serve this city. It was the citizens of the city of Detroit who were left holding the short end of the stick."
Kilpatrick — who quit office in 2008 in an unrelated scandal and eventually served more than a year in prison for a probation violation — is charged with racketeering conspiracy, extortion, bribery, fraud, false tax returns and tax evasion. His father, Bernard, also is on trial, along with the ex-mayor's best friend, Bobby Ferguson, and former Detroit water boss Victor Mercado.
Chutkow described how Kilpatrick deposited more than $200,000 in cash in his bank account and paid his credit card bills with another $280,000 in cash.
"He no longer lived like the citizens he governed," the prosecutor said, noting luxurious travel and custom-made suits.
Kilpatrick, who faces more than 10 years in prison if convicted, has declared his innocence. Defense attorney James Thomas repeated it for jurors in his opening statement but didn't specifically address the large sums of money outlined by the government.
Thomas called the government's case a "scam."
"The government has charged a racketeering conspiracy and everything but the kitchen sink. … You're going to learn about politics," Thomas said. "Politics is like making sausage. You know it's not pretty; it's messy. But once it's cooked, it tastes pretty good."
The government's evidence will include text messages, undercover video and testimony from as many as 10 people who have pleaded guilty in the investigation.
Some were Kilpatrick's closest allies at City Hall, including former Deputy Mayor Kandia Milton, former executive assistant DeDan Milton and former chief administrative officer Derrick Miller.
This isn't Kilpatrick's first brush with the law. His 14-month prison term for a probation violation followed a 2008 conviction for lying from the witness stand about an extramarital affair, a relationship revealed in sexually explicit text messages.
Outside the downtown courthouse, the city Kilpatrick left behind in 2008 seems to be in a perpetual crisis. Detroit's population has fallen significantly. An emergency manager has taken control of the public schools. Police officers work 12-hour shifts and have been hit with salary cutbacks.
The current mayor, Dave Bing, said he doesn't have much interest in the trial.
"I don't have time for that," he said last week while celebrating the rebirth of the city's century-old aquarium.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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