Kilpatrick's family in court as Thomas delivers closing argument - KMSP-TV

Kilpatrick's family in court as ex-mayor's lawyer delivers closing argument

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Kwame Kilpatrick outside federal court in Detroit on February 12.  (Credit: Fox 2 News) Kwame Kilpatrick outside federal court in Detroit on February 12. (Credit: Fox 2 News)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Kwame Kilpatrick's family has been conspicuous by their absence in federal court.  He has been surrounded by them for years, first on the city's payroll and then in court during the text message scandal.  They've been gone, but that all changed on Tuesday.

"Wouldn't you think that at the climax of the case it would be important to have the support of everybody you love?" said Kilpatrick attorney Jim Thomas.

For five months, the only family member Kilpatrick could turn to was his father, Bernard, and "Pops" Kilpatrick was only there because he's on trial, too.

But this case is almost over.  Thomas delivered his closing argument blasting the government for over-reaching and lying about the former mayor and attacking witnesses who said they hired mayoral best bud Bobby Ferguson because they feared losing contracts.

In a pointed reference to Tony Soave, who complained about Ferguson, Thomas told jurors "it kind of sticks in my craw a little bit when you have a guy worth $2.5 billion coming in here and saying he has fear of losing money."

He said the government's case is based on the self-serving testimony of Emma Bell, Karl Kado and Derrick Miller, who he said "got in trouble on their own and had a heavy motivation to implicate Kwame Kilpatick."

Kilpatrick's wife and sons, mother and sister listened as Thomas told jurors the feds failed to prove the 30 charges against him.

"Supporting their dad's an important thing at this point.  I'm happy that they're here.  That wasn't something that I planned," said Thomas.

"Were they props just for the jury to see?" a reporter asked.

"That's [expletive]," Thomas answered.

Carlita Kilpatrick and Ayanna Kilpatrick-Ferguson came back after lunch to hear Bernard Kilpatrick's attorney defend him, but he was cut short after ten minutes when a juror got sick.

The case is scheduled to resume Thursday, meaning John Shea may have to start all over again.

"So what was the alternative?  I mean it would've been worse had the juror not said I need a break.  You know, then I've got eleven instead of twelve paying attention," Shea told me.

Shea says it's disappointing, but won't affect his performance.

"When they call a false start, you go back to the blocks and you get down there and you get ready again," he remarked.

As for Thomas, after five long months, he's just glad his work is finally done.

"I'll tell you what I'm happy about.  I'm going to get a good night's sleep tonight," he said.

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