Kilpatrick lawyer's theory about $90K, metal detector tested

Kilpatrick lawyer's theory about $90K, metal detector tested

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DETROIT (WJBK) -

Kwame Kilpatrick and company were back in federal court for Day 47 of their corruption trial. Friday's big debate was weather $90,000 in hidden cash would set off the scanners at the airport.

Now here's something you don't see everyday in Detroit -- a backpack containing $90,000.  The guy carrying it was a cop.  But not just any cop, an FBI special agent.  And not just any FBI special agent, an FBI special agent who stuffed all that loot in his shorts, all to try to debunk one of the theories defense attorneys tossed out at the start of the Kilpatrick Incorporated Trial.

Here's the story in a nutshell, so to speak.  Defense attorneys questioned the truthfulness of a witness, who testified he flew home with $90,000 that he later gave to Kwame Kilpatrick.

Kilpatrick attorney Jim Thomas said in his opening statement that much money would've set off airport metal detectors, so the feds set out to test that theory sending Special Agent Joseph Jensen through the same kind of metal detector at Detroit Metro Airport 100 times and it never went off.

Now defense attorneys say the test is invalid because the feds didn't exactly duplicate the witness' effort.

"We were critical.  We have a different position.  The government has theirs and we have ours," said Jim Thomas.

"You try to take all that money and stuff it in your pants' pocket and walk through a metal detector at any airport in the United States and you're not going to get pulled over?  Come on," said Mike Rataj.

Rataj had argued that stuffing that much dough in your clothes would make you look like the Michelin Man, but in a video of the experiment shown to jurors, the $90,000 didn't make a bulge.

But Rataj isn't about to budge on his theory about that bulge.

"So you've got money on top of money, okay.  So I submit to you that my statement back in September that he looked like the Michelin man still holds."

Friday's testimony wasn't all about the Benjamins and the President Grants.  Patton Park Rec Center reentered the case.  Prosecutors showed a new text message in which Bobby Ferguson and Kwame Kilpatrick discuss a proposal by contractor Walbridge Aldinger.

FERGUSON: Walbridge is not playing ball Black Man.  These white folks need to be made believers that they are not in control.

KILPATRICK: Will call later.

As they often do, defense attorneys cautioned against jumping to any conclusions.

"The bottom line is you're talking about what, 300,000 to 500,000 texts.  How many are they really putting into evidence during this trial?  Less than 200," Rataj said.  "You know, it's context, it's a multitude of things that the jury has to consider in evaluating these text messages."

One of the reasons that bulge might not have bulged as much as expected was because the wad of cash was made out of hundreds and fifties.  When you stacked it all up, it was about eight inches high.

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