Judge denies Kilpatrick's request for a new lawyer - KMSP-TV

Judge denies Kilpatrick's request for a new lawyer

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Attorney Jim Thomas (left) and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (right) arrive at federal court in Detroit on Tuesday. Attorney Jim Thomas (left) and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (right) arrive at federal court in Detroit on Tuesday.

Kwame Kilpatrick shouted to his fans, but refused to answer questions from reporters as he left court Tuesday.  This after Judge Nancy Edmonds denied his request for a new lawyer.

Kilpatrick's longtime attorney Jim Thomas took it all in stride.

"I love the guy.  I mean he's been just wonderful to be around, and I'm looking forward to being at trial."

Earlier Thomas asked to be allowed to remove himself from the case.  Kilpatrick told the judge he doesn't trust Thomas will be aggressive in seeking the real truth, that "he's not willing to listen to me, and I'm not willing to take his advice."

"I'm not in a position to criticize or refute what it is that he said.  That's what he felt.  He said it to the court, but that doesn't mean that we're not going to trial now," said Thomas.

This all over a conflict of interest.  Thomas represented businessman Gasper Fiore years ago, and it's alleged Kilpatrick extorted money from Fiore.  The government agreed to withdraw every count related to Fiore in this case.  Not only that, Kilpatrick had already waved conflict of interest in the case.

But there was another issue.  Thomas switched law firms and is now associated with a firm that's suing Kilpatrick over a water project in Macomb County.

Prosecutors accused Kilpatrick of simply trying to delay the trial.  Kilpatrick denied that and said, "I'm not afraid of this trial.  I'm not afraid to start this trial.  I don't believe anything they have will make me guilty."

He went on to say, "I don't have the trust in Mr. Thomas that I need for him to try this case."

The judge reminded him that a week ago Kilpatrick told her he loved Thomas.  She denied his request for a new attorney.

It's the right move says Fox 2 legal analyst Charlie Langton.

"Show time!  This is Kwame Kilpatrick's show, and I really do believe that this was a show.  Kwame Kilpatrick has to say the words I don't trust him.  I may love him.  I don't like him.  I don't trust him.  Whatever he says it doesn't matter.  It's a show to try to delay the trial."

"It's not going to fly.  This judge did her homework.  She knew the facts of this case.  She knew there is really no conflict."

Also in this case defendant Victor Mercado, the former head of the water department, had asked to have his own trial independent of the other defendants.  The judge denied that request, so this trial will get underway on September 6 with jury selection.


Also in the courtroom was the newest member of the Fox 2 team, former Detroit Free Press reporter M. L. Elrick.  He has been uncovering the lies and wrongdoing involving the Kilpatrick administration for years.  Click on the second video in the player above to hear his thoughts on these developments.

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