Defense lawyer in Kilpatrick case taken away by ambulance

Defense lawyer in Kilpatrick case taken away by ambulance

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DETROIT -- One of the defense lawyers in the Kwame Kilpatrick corruption trial left court in an ambulance.  It cut short Monday's testimony, and Tuesday's is canceled, as well.

Gerald Evelyn has been a key figure in the Kilpatrick and company trial for years now and a trusted defender of Bobby Ferguson. However, his condition is casting a shadow on the future of these proceedings.

"We really don't know his condition at this particular point.  We're hoping, obviously, that it's nothing serious.  He was taken for treatment, and in the meantime, the attorneys all agreed that they would adjourn court for tomorrow," said court information officer Rod Hansen.

"It appears to be something that obviously is of concern to everybody, and so our hopes and prayers are with him," said defense attorney Jim Thomas.

Everybody hopes Evelyn will make a speedy recovery, but his collapse on Monday raised doubts about whether he'll be able to return to court anytime soon.

One legal expert said Judge Nancy Edmunds will probably have to keep the case moving forward no matter what happens.

"She may well say that you have other people in court with you, we'll take some time for them to get up to speed, but I think it's unlikely that she would stop the trial at this point, even though it's his lead attorney," Peter Henning explained.

The Wayne State University law professor said Edmunds doesn't have the option of putting the trial on hold indefinitely.  That would cause a mistrial, and that would trigger a new trial complete with another painstaking round of jury selection.

"I doubt she wants to put this to a stop now and then restart it all over again.  That would likely mean a delay of four to six months and then the entire jury selection process again.  That was so painful that I doubt anyone wants to go through that again."

While Ferguson has a top notch legal team, continuing the trial without Evelyn could provide grounds for an appeal.

"It may be more of a legal issue down the road.  If there is a conviction and Mr. Evelyn's not allowed to come back, but the trial continues, certainly he could try to raise that issue on appeal.  It would be a very difficult one to win.  He would have to show that whatever lawyer stepped in was ineffective," Henning said.

Hopefully this will all be a moot point with Evelyn returning to court hale and hearty soon.

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