Opening statements started today in the corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Prosecutors begin to outline how city contractor and co-defendant Bobby Ferguson, made millions of dollars through rigged bids. Allegedly assisting in these fraudulent bids along with Kwame Kilpatrick were co-defendants, Victor Mercado and Kilpatrik’s father Benard Kilpatrick.
Among the allegedly bids they profited from, according to prosecutors, was in connection with a Sterling Heights sewer collapse in 2004 that took months to repair. Defense lawyers tried unsuccessfully to have this trial moved out of Detroit, arguing that heavy media coverage of the case had tainted the jury pool. Judge Nancy Denied a motion for a change of venue on Thursday.
The Kilpatricks are also accused of shaking down contractors who wanted business from Detroit city hall. All of the defendants have pleaded not guilty to charges of racketeering, bribery and extortion. Kilpatrick was mayor until 2008 when he resigned in the unrelated text-messaging scandal.