Posted April 9, 2008 – Detroit City Council has begun a series of hearings to investigate an alleged secret agreement at the center of a $9 million mayoral scandal.
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Lawyer Mike Stefani, who represented ex-Detroit cops who claimed wrongful termination, testified Wednesday that he did nothing improper to gain key evidence against Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
The hearings were held to explore whether Kilpatrick struck a deal to hide text messages that suggest an affair with his ex-chief of staff. Kilpatrick vowed to appeal a jury's 2007 verdict supporting officers who say they were fired for investigating cases that would expose the mayor's extra-marital relationship with Christine Beatty. But the mayor abruptly agreed to settle with the cops, claiming another trial would hurt the city.
It's now alleged that Kilpatrick only settled after learning there was a record of the explicit text messages between him and Beatty. Stefani says he requested the texts before the civil trial ended, but they didn't arrive until later. The lawyer was questioned by Council about whether he came by the messages legally, and says he did.
A Detroit Free Press article published in February this year published dozens of the texts, which City Council now suspects may have been hidden from it. Some Council reps say they wouldn't have approved the $8.4 million settlement, plus legal fees, that Kilpatrick requested, if they'd known about the messages.
Kilpatrick and Beatty are charged with perjury and obstruction of justice, among other felonies, after denying their affair at the civil trial. Council's hearings resume tomorrow.