In one of the biggest public corruption cases in Detroit’s history, the ex-mayor and two others are now on trial in U.S. District Court.
Kwame Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick, his longtime friend Bobby Ferguson and ex-water department director Victor Mercado were indicted in December 2010. They were charged with running a criminal enterprise through the mayor’s office to enrich themselves through a water department scheme that involved rigged contracts and shaking down contractors.
Mercado pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge during the trial. The others deny the charges — including extortion, bribery, fraud and money laundering — which carry penalties of up to 30 years in prison.
At least 10 convicted felons, half of them friends or aides of Kilpatrick, testified during the trial. One key witness was Derrick Miller, a childhood friend and ex-aide to Kilpatrick. He also was charged in the case but cut a deal with the government and agreed to cooperate in exchange for leniency. Miller pleaded guilty last year to bribery and tax violations and faces up to 10 years in prison.
The trial officially started with jury selection Sept. 6, followed by opening statements the following week.
The prosecution rested after more than four months of testimony, and defense attorneys took less than two weeks to present their case.
Now jury deliberations get under way Tuesday in the trial, which spanned five months.