Kwame Kilpatrick corruption trial begins with opening statements

Kwame Kilpatrick corruption trial begins with opening statements

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Kwame Kilpatrick and the other defendants in court (Credit: Jerry Lemenu) Kwame Kilpatrick and the other defendants in court (Credit: Jerry Lemenu)

(Sketches By: Jerry Lemenu)

DETROIT (MyFox Detroit) -- Undercover video, wiretaps, text message and a massive paper trail -- it's the evidence federal prosecutors will be presenting in the Kwame Kilpatrick public corruption trial. After two years of waiting, the trial finally got underway Friday with opening statements.

It was almost four years ago to the day that Kwame Kilpatrick delivered a defiant final message as mayor.

"I want to tell you Detroit that you done set me up for a comeback."

It's highly unlikely that sitting in federal court Friday was what Kilpatrick had in mind. Nevertheless, he sat calmly with his father, Bernard, his best friend, Bobby Ferguson, and his former water department chief, Victor Mercado, as federal prosecutors told jurors the men schemed to extort bribes from city contractors.

Prosecutor Mark Chutkow said that in addition to his salary as mayor, Kilpatrick raked in more than half a million dollars in cash. He said most of that loot was spent for custom suits.

Chutkow said Kilpatrick siphoned another quarter million dollars from the non-profit he set up to improve the city.

Kilpatrick's attorney countered that politics is a tough business and told jurors that government, like sausage, is not pretty, but he added, once it's cooked, it tastes pretty good.

Attorneys for the other men said the feds took text messages and wiretaps out of context. They deny any conspiracy.

"I don't even know that there was a Kilpatrick enterprise. That's something the government's got to prove," said John Minock, Victor Mercado's attorney.

Today was just talk. On Monday we get to the evidence.

Watch the video report for more from M.L. Elrick and Charlie Langton.

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