High profile cases in the Justice System present unique challenges. The case of Kwame Kilpatrick, Detroit’s former mayor, is no exception. Mr. Kilpatrick continues to make news as he approaches the date of his trial on racketeering charges. In a recent meeting with journalists, Kilpatrick claims that he cannot get a fair trial in Detroit because he has been unfairly persecuted for acts he never committed. Kilpatrick believes that there is no possible way a jury in Detroit will be unbiased when it is widely believed he stole millions from the city. Over 400 jurors have been given questionnaires regarding the case during recent jury selection.
During the question and answer session, Kilpatrick told journalists that there is plenty of corruption in Detroit, but he never took part in any of it. In 2008, Kilpatrick resigned after it was discovered he was having an affair with his former chief of staff, Christine Beatty. Kilpatrick was charged with obstruction of justice after he lied about his relationship with Beatty. That state-level High Profile Case in the Justice System ended with Kilpatrick being required to pay back the city $1 million in restitution. It also landed Kilpatrick behind bars for a probation violation.
On September 6, Kilpatrick will face federal charges of bribery, extortion, fraud, and corruption. Bernard Kilpatrick, Kwame’s father, Bobby Ferguson, former city contractor and friend of Kilpatrick’s, and former water chief Victor Mercado will also face the same charges. Prosecutors believe that these men formed a criminal enterprise that ran out of the mayor’s office. In one instance, Kilpatrick and the others have been accused of rigging a government bidding system to give a $25 million sewer repair contract to Ferguson’s company which then received millions more than it should by intentionally inflating invoice costs. This is just one illustration of Kilpatrick’s alleged abuse of power that federal prosecutors intend to show at the trial. If convicted, Kilpatrick could face up to 30 years in prison. The case is expected to last around four months.
Understandably, the Kilpatrick case is receiving intense media attention. For anyone about to proceed to trial, or who is under investigation, such attention can become overwhelming. As a general rule, clients hurt rather than help themselves by speaking with the press. Of course, there are exceptions. Therefore, if you or someone you love is investigated, arrested, or charged, it is vital to secure the services of a Michigan criminal defense attorney with experience in both the courtroom and also with the media.