Day 53 of Kilpatrick Inc. trial concludes with a cliffhanger - KMSP-TV

Day 53 of Kilpatrick Inc. trial concludes with a cliffhanger

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Defense attorneys for Bobby Ferguson took on federal agents Tuesday.  Meanwhile, Day 53 of the Kilpatrick Incorporated public corruption trial ended in a cliffhanger.

Jurors got a fresh perspective on Bobby Ferguson Tuesday -- defender of the public purse.

Defense attorney Mike Rataj put a new spin on text messages showing Ferguson complaining to Kwame Kilpatrick about Walbridge Aldinger.  Rataj said Ferguson was actually trying to keep the contractor from getting paid without doing any work on the Patton Park Recreation Center project.

Ferguson's relationship with Walbridge has played an important role in the racketeering case against him.

Last month, prosecutors showed a letter from a Walbridge official complaining about Ferguson's strong arm tactics.

It said, "Walbridge Aldinger was strongly persuaded by highly-placed city officials to award a substantial portion of the excavation work to Ferguson Enterprises."

Rataj countered Tuesday with a follow-up letter from the same official that said, "I was in error.... Ferguson was awarded a portion of the contract on monetary considerations."

FBI Agent Bob Beeckman countered that the Walbridge official wrote the second letter to cover his behind after Ferguson complained.

Later, Rataj pointed out that Ferguson wasn't the only contractor with access to Kwame Kilpatrick, though jurors saw no evidence that other contractors regularly exchanged texts with the mayor or had a city hall ID like Ferguson.

But prosecutors tried to score points at the end of the day by introducing a Ferguson invoice that appeared to be doctored.  Before they could delve into the issue, defense attorneys objected.

While defense attorneys likely had plenty to say in the judge's chambers, they were tight-lipped outside the courthouse.

We'll hear more Wednesday on just how much the government can say about that document they teased us with Tuesday afternoon.

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