DETROIT (AP) — The corruption case of Kwame Kilpatrick was given to jurors Friday after a blistering summary from a prosecutor who said the former Detroit mayor’s bank account swelled with a “tidal wave of green” through extortion and bribery.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow tried to pull the jury to the government’s view of the evidence following 1½ days of passionate final remarks from defense lawyers. He posted Kilpatrick’s text messages on a large screen to show that the fix was in for millions of dollars in city contracts that benefited a buddy who had a construction business.
The government alleges that Kilpatrick got a cut of those deals from co-defendant Bobby Ferguson and spent more than $800,000 beyond his salary while in office from 2002 to fall 2008.
“The scale of corruption was breathtaking,” Chutkow told jurors. “We cannot turn away and ignore the corruption that occurred in this city. It is time for the former mayor and his accomplices to be held accountable for their crimes — it is past time.”
Jurors who have been together for five months ate lunch Friday, but won’t start formal deliberations until Tuesday. Monday is a public holiday.
Kilpatrick, 42, is charged with 30 crimes, including racketeering conspiracy, bribery, extortion and tax evasion. His father, Bernard, is a co-defendant along with Ferguson.
The main theme of the government’s case is that Kwame Kilpatrick ensured that Ferguson got city excavation work and then enjoyed the cash spoils. But he also is accused of strong-arming other contractors to give public jobs to Ferguson and shaking down businesses.