Kwame Kilpatrick trail | Where are his family and friends?

A normally supportive Kilpatrick family has gone AWOL

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Kwame Kilpatrick heads into a federal courthouse this week. Kwame Kilpatrick heads into a federal courthouse this week.

Whatever you believe about Kwame Kilpatrick, know this: Friends and family mean a lot.

He, like his mother the congresswoman, put plenty of them on the payroll when they were in office. And, even after his fall from City Hall, they've always turned out to support him at public appearances and in court.

Until now.

It's been more than two weeks since Kilpatrick began making daily appearances in U.S. District Court to face public corruption charges, along with his father, Bernard, his best friend, Bobby Ferguson, and former city Water Department Director Victor Mercado, and we have yet to have a family member join us on the hard benches in the back of the courtroom.

Kilpatrick did hug a striking older woman with silver-whitish hair, matching glasses, and a snazzy black sombrero-looking lid trimmed with fur who joined us in the pews Monday. She told me she is a long-time friend, but I did not recognize her as one of his kin.

The only relative spotted in court Monday was Marilyn Ferguson, the wife of co-defendant Bobby Ferguson. A petite, understated woman, she sat quietly and eschewed any attention.

I'm not surprised cousin Nneka Cheeks hasn't made the scene. I suspect the setting reminds her too much of HER racketeering case, which ended abruptly when she pleaded guilty to state charges of embezzling from a non-profit set up to help restore the Manoogian Mansion.

Nevertheless, I thought by now we might see her father, Raymond, who is Kilpatrick's uncle and was his Neighborhood City Halls honcho, his aunt and former state representative Marsha Cheeks, his mother Carolyn or his sister Ayanna, all of whom have attended proceedings in other courthouses and rallied support for the scion of the Kilpatrick family.

And I was certain brother-in-law Daniel Ferguson -- Ayanna's husband and Bobby's cousin -- would have joined us by now. His bulk and quiet confidence have been a staple at Kilpatrick court appearances over the years, providing Hizzoner with both the imposing presence he likes to project and a driver to whisk him away.

The one relative who IS in court everyday is father Bernard. Of course, as a co-defendant, he has little choice in the matter.

While there is no question that father and son share a tremendous bond and love each other deeply, I can't help thinking that Bernard would rather be someplace else.

Follow M.L. Elrick's coverage of the Kilpatrick & Co. trial daily on Fox 2 and at Contact him at or via Twitter or Facebook.

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