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Ex-Detroit mayor's legal bill may be large

Sept. 12, 2012 at 2:48 PM
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DETROIT, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Defending former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his co-defendants is likely to be costly for taxpayers, a newspaper says.

The tab will not be released until after the trial, the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday. Kilpatrick, his father Bernard and Victor Mercado, former head of the city's water department, have seven court-appointed lawyers between them, and their trial is expected to last four months.

The Free Press said former Detroit Councilwoman Monica Conyers and her former chief of staff, Sam Riddle, racked up a legal bill of $168,000 in 2010 for a short trial and appeal involving three lawyers.

Legal bills for taxpayer-funded lawyers are capped at $125 an hour, which can be waived in complex cases. The sums involved can be substantial, with the government paying $13.8 million for lawyers for Timothy McVeigh between his arrest in 1995 and his execution six years later for the Oklahoma City bombing.

Jury selection is under way in Kilpatrick's corruption trial.

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