Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick will be front-page news again for the next few months as he is tried in court for corruption charges that include 38 federal counts of racketeering conspiracy, extortion, bribery, fraud and tax evasion. Kilpatrick’s three co-defendants include his father, Bernard Kilpatrick, contractor Bobby Ferguson and Victor Mercado, the former director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.
The trial is set to begin on Sept. 20, a week later than anticipated, because it has taken longer than expected to pick a jury. Race has played a big role in the jury selection, as lawyers have tried to put together a diverse pool for the case, which is expected to be at times racially charged.
According to a Michigan Chronicle report, potential jury members have been asked questions about how they would react to racially charged language, their feelings about affirmative action and whether their religious beliefs would prevent them from distinguishing between immoral and illegal activities. Jury selection is expected to be complete by Sept. 18.
The Detroit News reports that the defense attorneys may try to use the case to put the federal government on trial by challenging the way it conducted the investigation. Over a six-year period, FBI agents wiretapped the defendants and gathered “hundreds of thousands” of text messages and several cooperating witnesses as evidence.
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(Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)