Lawyers for ex-Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick are trying to keep information about the ex-mayor’s past from the upcoming trial.
The lawyers for Kwame Kilpatrick and his three co-defendants have asked a federal judge to prohibit scandalous text messages, information about his troubled past and college grades from being presented to jurors.
The ex-mayor specifically asked U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds to keep away any information that indicates he has been imprisoned or disciplined in the past. He also requested that his transcripts from college and law school are excluded from the trial by asking the judge to rule that both are unrelated evidence.
Edmunds made the decision to appoint an anonymous jury to the case due to its intense public interest. However, Kilpatrick’s three co-defendants Bernard Kilpatrick, contractor Bobby Ferguson and ex-water boss Victor Mercado are opposed to keeping the jurors identities a secret.
Ferguson has expressed some concerns about text messages and other statements that may be read during the public trial. He believes that many of statements are damaging and irrelevant. One message in particular references a Book Cadillac Project in which Ferguson and Kilpatrick discussed making money off of the proposed plan.
Another message that Ferguson’s lawyer Gerald Evelyn asked to remain outside the trial includes a references to a 35 percent demand share that Ferguson requested from an unnamed company.
Evelyn believes the court is intentionally selecting the most incriminating messages on purpose out of the over 600,000 message batch.
"To cherry-pick 25 quotes, ascribe a meaning to them, out of a list of 628,000?" Evelyn said. "It's unfair. It's selective. And it's not the place for it."
Ferguson is accused of manipulating his access at the mayor’s office to pull in million-dollar contracts.
Mercado’s lawyers requested that he has a separate trial to avoid a conviction by association.
"The jury will see evidence that the codefendants received bribes, gifts, sham donations, misappropriated donations and private jet flights worth over a million dollars, just to name a few sources of illicit income," Mercado's lawyer Marty Crandall wrote in a recent filing. "Mercado, on the other hand, received absolutely nothing beyond his salary."
Court records indicate that Mercado believes he was extorted by the ex-mayor. He is threatening to release information about Kilpatrick that has remained untold, which may make him a secondary prosecutor in Kilpatrick’s case.
All four men are accused of organizing a criminal enterprise through the mayor’s office. They face charges of bribery, extortion, and fraud. Each of the men claims that they are not guilty.
The trial is scheduled to begin on September 14 and is expected to last up to four months.