Bernard Kilpatrick federal wiretap played in court

Bernard Kilpatrick federal wiretap played in court

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DETROIT -- Bernard Kilpatrick didn't know it at the time, but almost every time he picked up the phone from the summer of 2007 through summer of 2008, he had company on the line -- FBI Agent Bob Beeckman.

For the first time since opening statements three weeks ago, jurors got to hear the Kilpatricks engage in conversations that prosecutors say are evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

In one 2007 phone call, Bernard Kilpatrick asks city contractor Abner McWhorter if he can contribute to the nonprofit Kilpatrick civic fund.

"Jeff is having a thing for the mayor tomorrow at the Atheneum," Kilpatrick said.  "And he wants you to step up.... If you could do 5, that would be real cool."

McWhorter answered, "Let me work on that. I'll give you a call in the morning."

The elder Kilpatrick's lawyer said McWhorter was a client and the sound bite is taken out of context.

"Things come out in stages, and we're just going to have to listen to the whole story.  I just don't want to comment on it piecemeal," said John Shea.

Jurors also heard a conversation from 2008 while Kwame Kilpatrick was still in the Wayne County Jail.  He was helping his sister, Ayanna, plan their grandfather Marvel's 90th birthday party at the Atheneum Hotel in Greektown.

Kilpatrick said, "We got to do something really nice for granddaddy's birthday.... Gotta go and get that eighth floor."

Ayanna Kilpatrick Ferguson responded, "Okay, well, I'll get on that."

Although Kilpatrick's nonprofit footed some of the bill for the shindig, Kilpatrick attorney Jim Thomas suggested that the party was a legitimate expense because Detroiters were there and money may have been raised for the fund.

We don't know how jurors feel about the recordings, but the look on Bernard Kilpatrick's face made it clear that he was, shall we say, less than impressed.

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