Jury in Kilpatrick trial to start deliberations Tuesday

Jury in Kilpatrick trial to start deliberations Tuesday

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Kwame Kilpatrick  (Credit: Fox 2 News) Kwame Kilpatrick (Credit: Fox 2 News)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

The corruption case against Kwame Kilpatrick, his father, Bernard, and his friend, Bobby Ferguson, is now in the hands of a jury.  The prosecution wrapped up closing arguments on Friday.

We've had five months of testimony and nearly 100 witnesses.  Kwame Kilpatrick faces 30 charges, Ferguson ten charges and Bernard Kilpatrick four charges.  The lawyers have argued, the witnesses have come and gone, and now there is nothing else anyone can do except for the jury.

"This is always the toughest time, but this has been a trying case and so, for the next couple of days, we're going to try to get some rest," said Ferguson attorney Gerald Evelyn.

Prosecutor Mark Chutkow had the final word in this case.  His rebuttal to the defense's closing arguments relied heavily on text messages such as one from the former mayor's sister, Ayanna Kilpatrick-Ferguson, complaining about all the contracts going to Bobby Ferguson.  She wrote, "Here we go with this Bobby bull again.  Can we make a dollar, too?"

Chutkow came to court with a mission, a mission to shore up the government's case.   He said Kilpatrick, his father and Ferguson were extortionists.

The opposition gave him good marks, even though they're still hoping for acquittals.

"Mr. Chutkow's a very good lawyer.  Their team is a very good, effective team.  They've been well financed and well backed by the U.S. government.  They've had everything they needed.  We aren't a government.  We're just a bunch of individuals who got together and tried to do this case as well as we could," Evelyn said.

Chutkow's greatest challenge may be getting the jury to believe witnesses who were more than a little sketchy.  He pointed out that key government witnesses Emma Bell and Derrick Miller were longtime Kilpatrick confidantes and said that, despite their own wrongdoing, "there's just too many witnesses saying the same thing."

He also urged jurors to rely on the text messages, which he said are like a crime scene frozen in time.

Chutkow ended by emphasizing that jurors were picked to reach a decision, a sign that prosecutors may be worried about a hung jury, which would be a defeat for the government.

"I wondered myself, frankly, when I heard that, and that's a legitimate concern," said Evelyn.

Evelyn also says he's glad to hear that his impassioned closing argument on Thursday may have moved a juror close to tears.

"You want to reach people.  You want to try to get to them, and this has been a case that's had a lot of emotion going the other way in our view.  So it's hard to know what a person's emotional reaction means.  That someone got emotional doesn't mean that they necessarily agree with you," he said.

Still, Evelyn remains optimistic.

"It does suggest that they're listening to you and that they heard something that you said, so maybe something resonated.  If it did and if it was to our benefit, then that was a good thing," he said.

The jurors met Friday.  We believe they picked a foreperson, and on Tuesday after the holiday they will be deliberating from 9:00 a.m. To 4:30 p.m. trying to reach a verdict in this case.

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