One of the biggest headlines in the news in recent days has been the Kwame Kilpatrick corruption trial taking place in Detroit. The former mayor, his father Bernard, Kilpatrick “pal” Bobby Ferguson and Victor Mercado have been accused of devising a corruption scheme meant to enrich their own lives. Attorneys for the men asked for a change of venue because of intense media attention and the possibility of its influence on the jurors, however Judge Nancy G. Edmunds denied the change of venue.
Ultimately, prosecutors allege that the group known as “Kilpatrick Enterprise” by authorities have intimidated people and essentially hidden a great deal of money through their scheme. Kwame Kilpatrick, his father, Bobby Ferguson and ex-city water department director Victor Mercado are accused of funneling work to Ferguson through the shake down of contractors and rigged water contracts. It is expected that the trial will last as long as four months.
The complaint against Kilpatrick alleges operation of an illegal criminal enterprise which involves mail and wire fraud, accepting bribes and kickbacks, contract rigging and extortion among other charges.
Opening statements were scheduled for Friday September 21st at 9 a.m. in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. On Tuesday, Bobby Ferguson was cornered by testimony given by a college friend of Kilpatrick’s and a Detroit police officer, who claimed that Ferguson made threats to his family while the other accused Ferguson of giving him $90,000 cash that was to be given to Kilpatrick. Michael Fountain, a Detroit police officer, testified that threats were made to his children and wife by Ferguson over illegal dumping tickets.
With almost daily headlines coming out in newspapers, this trial is sure to be one of great interest in the Detroit area in the coming weeks.
Charges of extortion and fraud are extremely serious and could leave those accused facing substantial prison time, fines and more if convicted. While it is doubtful that you have been arrested for a scheme as involved as this one, it is to your advantage to consult with a capable and aggressive Detroit criminal defense lawyer no matter how minor or serious you believe the charges against you to be.