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Prosecution rests in Kilpatrick case

Jan. 31, 2013 at 2:12 PM   |   Comments

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DETROIT, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Prosecutors in the corruption trial of former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick rested their case, and Kilpatrick's lawyers opened the defense phase.

Kilpatrick, his father and contractor Bobby Ferguson are accused of running a criminal racket in City Hall, steering municipal construction work to Ferguson, pocketing payoffs and extorting businessmen.

The prosecution rested after 13 weeks of testimony by 80 witnesses, and Thursday U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds refused to acquit the accused, beginning the defense portion of the trial, which The Detroit News said is expected to last two weeks.

Defense lawyers declined to say if Kwame Kilpatrick, Bernard Kilpatrick or Ferguson will testify.

The first defense witness, accountant Gary Leeman, was asked about purchases of a Cadillac DeVille, a trip to a water park and yoga lessons, bought for the former mayor by his non-profit organization the Civic Fund, prosecutors contending Kilpatrick treated the Fund as a personal piggy bank, defrauding donors.

Kilpatrick's team contends the personal expenses, which also included gold clubs and trips to resorts, were allowable under federal tax rules.

The yoga lessons made Leeman laugh, the newspaper said.

"Not even close," he said.

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