Closing arguments expected at ex-Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick's trial

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 11, 2013 7:04 AM
Closing arguments expected at ex-Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick's trial

(Reuters) - Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday in the federal public corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who is accused of running a decade-long criminal enterprise out of his office to enrich himself, his family and friends.

Voters hoped Kilpatrick would reverse decades of decline in Detroit when he was elected the youngest mayor in city history in 2001. Instead, he faces an array of charges including racketeering conspiracy, bribery, extortion and tax fraud.

Detroit's population has been shrinking for decades, totaling more than 700,000 residents in 2011, compared with more than 1.8 million in 1950. After years of severe budget deficits, the state has been reviewing Detroit's finances and is in the process of deciding whether to appoint an emergency manager.

The former mayor has been on trial for about five months along with his father, Bernard Kilpatrick, and friend, Bobby Ferguson, owner of a construction business, before U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds in Detroit.

Kilpatrick is accused of using his influence to steer sewer, water and other construction projects toward Ferguson over a decade, at times extorting contractors, or rigging the bidding process for awarding city contracts.

Kilpatrick also has been accused of using money donated to the nonprofit Kilpatrick Civic Fund for personal expenses such as golf clubs, yoga lessons, college tuition for relatives, a crisis manager to support his image and surveillance equipment.

He has denied the charges.

In 2008, Kilpatrick stepped down as mayor under a plea agreement in a separate case in which he admitted to lying under oath during a lawsuit brought by two fired police officers. The charges to which he pleaded guilty showed that Kilpatrick had lied to conceal cell phone text messages that detailed an affair with a woman who was his chief of staff.

(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Stacey Joyce)