Talk of Kilpatrick buying suits in Dubai at ex-mayor's trial - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Talk of Kilpatrick buying suits in Dubai at ex-mayor's trial

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DETROIT -- Kwame Kilpatrick has had his share of legal troubles over the years from felony charges to civil matters.  While he is no fan of lawsuits, there are apparently some suits he just can't resist.

Ahmad Chebbani testified Friday that he worked mighty hard to put together a trade mission to beautiful Dubai in 2002.  Things were going great until Kilpatrick, the star of the Detroit delegation, ducked out in the middle of a crucial dinner celebration.

With his pockets allegedly stuffed with $10,000 from political patron Jon Rutherford, Kilpatrick told Chebbani he had to go get some suits.

This latest tale of high living by Detroit's former mayor left courtroom observers shaking their heads, much like Chebbani did a decade ago, and it was the first of many accounts Friday of a political prince rolling in dough.

"So money rules in politics," said political activist Ernest Johnson.

He should know.  His community coalition received more than $7,000 from Jon Rutherford to help elect Kilpatrick mayor in 2001.  Prosecutors said Rutherford wrote the coalition checks totaling $80,000, but Johnson says he never got the money.

"I don't have (any) proof where it went.  I might have an idea, but I don't have (any) proof where it went," Johnson said.

Three sisters testified that Kilpatrick pal Bobby Ferguson gave them $3,400 each in money orders to donate to Kilpatrick's campaign, then told them to say it was their money when the feds started asking questions.

If true, that would be a violation of state campaign finance law and might even constitute suborning perjury, but Kilpatrick and Ferguson aren't facing those charges.

Defense attorney John Shea said this case, which prosecutors are rolling out in chapters, can sometimes be a little hard to follow.

"Let's remember that, as you said, we're in chapter three and who knows how many chapters there are going to be."

The feds appear to have closed the Rutherford chapter of their book, but not before the former homeless shelter operator contradicted his earlier testimony that Bernard Kilpatrick had not done work for the $10,000 a month he received.  Rutherford said Friday that the elder Kilpatrick did provide some valuable services.

As for the suits, Chebbani said the day after Kwame Kilpatrick disappeared, he got a phone call from one of his aides asking him what he knew about shipping because it was thought they may have gotten lost in the mail.

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