Victor Mercado pleads guilty in Kilpatrick corruption trial - KMSP-TV

Victor Mercado pleads guilty in Kwame Kilpatrick corruption trial

Posted: Updated:
Victor Mercado leaves federal court in downtown Detroit Monday  (Credit: Fox 2 News) Victor Mercado leaves federal court in downtown Detroit Monday (Credit: Fox 2 News)

DETROIT (WJBK) -- There was a bombshell Monday in the federal corruption trial of Kwame Kilpatrick.  Co-defendant Victor Mercado pled guilty.

Mercado was facing up to 20 years in prison, but instead of taking his chances with a jury, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit extortion in return for a sentence of 18 months or less in prison.

"This is the right decision at the right time and a good plea offer," said Mercado attorney Martin Crandall.

The former Detroit Water Department director walked into court Monday an innocent man.  An hour later, he walked out a different man, a guilty man, a relieved man.

"I'm sure he's greatly relieved," said attorney John Minock.

For more than a month, his attorneys argued passionately and persuasively that Mercado was not part of the "circle of trust".  That's the term they coined to describe the relationship between Kwame Kilpatrick, his father, Bernard, and contractor Bobby Ferguson.

Kilpatrick attorney Jim Thomas said Mercado's sudden guilty plea came as a surprise, but should not hurt the former mayor's chances.

"This is one of several cases that I've had -- the terrorist case, the Fourth Precinct corruption case and, most recently, the Hutaree case -- where co-defendants have agreed to plea guilty and then everybody gets acquitted."

Fox 2 legal analyst Charlie Langton isn't so sure.

"This is huge.  You've got a high level ranking member of the water department now pleading guilty to conspiracy and conspiracy with Kwame Kilpatrick.  Oh my gosh, this is a major, major breakthrough for the government and a big win for the government."

Minock told me after the plea that the possibility of a heavy sentence weighed on Mercado.  He felt leaving his fate up to a jury on a circumstantial case was just too much of a gamble, a gamble that could've resulted in a prison sentence so long it would effectively be a death sentence.

  • Latest Development in the Kilpatrick Corruption TrialMore>>

  • Detroit councilwoman wants transparency on tinted window issue

    Detroit councilwoman wants transparency on tinted window issue

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 9:12 PM EDT2014-08-27 01:12:02 GMT
    After months of trying to get Detroit City Council woman Mary Sheffield to call back, she finally reached out - but not to answer questions, to call Fox 2 out.
    After months of trying to get Detroit City Council woman Mary Sheffield to call back, she finally reached out - but not to answer questions, to call Fox 2 out.
  • Why do some Detroit council members have tinted front windows?

    Why do some Detroit council members have tinted front windows?

    Thursday, August 21 2014 7:27 PM EDT2014-08-21 23:27:50 GMT
    A recent report from Fox 2's M.L. Elrick about Detroit City Councilwoman Mary Sheffield sparked some interesting response from viewers. Several of you raised the question via emailed or by commenting on social media as to why her front windows were tinted.
    A recent report from Fox 2's M.L. Elrick about Detroit City Councilwoman Mary Sheffield sparked some interesting response from viewers. Several of you raised the question via emailed or by commenting on social media as to why her front windows were tinted.
  • Woodward Dream Cruise kicks off 20th year

    Woodward Dream Cruise kicks off 20th year

    Friday, August 15 2014 10:44 PM EDT2014-08-16 02:44:42 GMT
    The 20th Woodward Dream Cruise kicks off Saturday showcasing thousands of classic cars.Fox 2's resident classic car enthusiast M. L. Elrick took to the streets with his 1962 Pontiac Tempest to experience the ride firsthand.
    The 20th Woodward Dream Cruise kicks off Saturday showcasing thousands of classic cars.Fox 2's resident classic car enthusiast M. L. Elrick took to the streets with his 1962 Pontiac Tempest to experience the ride firsthand.
Powered by WorldNow

KMSP-TV
11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices