Live Blog: Kwame Kilpatrick Trial Day 40 - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Live Blog: Kwame Kilpatrick Trial Day 40

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Thomas finishes and Prosecutor Blackwell says she has a few questions but the Judge says then lMaybe this is a good time to wrap it up for the week.  And we are wrapped up for the week.  M.L. Elrick will have his wrap up on today's testimony tonight on Fox 2 News, plus his takeaway on MyFox

A Good day for the Defense team as they picked apart Akinwusi's testimony about the amount of work Bobby's company Xcel did on the Heilmann project.  Even if Xcel's employees didn't get their boots muddy it was clear from the meeting minutes that they did more than just take notes.

We'll be back on Monday, we expect to see Susan Van Dusen back as well, have a great weekend.


Thomas asks if he's capable of making mistakes when it comes to dates. No.  But we've demonstrated a mistake you made with a date.  Akinwusi is getting a little excited here and fumbling with his answer.

Thomas asks about the $32,000  he collected for what Akinwusi thought was the campaign, would you agree with me that it was in Kwame's second term in 2005.  Akinwusi agrees.  The sticking point there was Akinwusi had originally a told the FBI the money was for Kwame's re-election but it turned out it was after.


Thomas goes for another document, couldn't see what he did but the Judge  says no more tripping please.  Nervous chuckles from the gallery.

Thomas says sir, that was an FBI report I just showed you and it has nothing to do with Mr. Ferguson.  Judge Edmunds says so the jury can be clear this is an FBI 302, not to be used as evidence, just to refresh his recollection.

Thomas asks if he shows him a report would it refresh his recollection?  Showing it to him now. ASks if told agent Beeckman there was only one payment for the Mayor's suits.

Thomas asks if he remembers seeing the check shown earlier by the prosecution and puts up the receipt and  asks if this is for your stuff (march 11 2002)  Yes. Akinwusi says he doesn't know why it says "layaway" he doesn't know how the receipts are done he just knows he paid him.

Thomas asks if he paid for the suits out of his business. Yes.  This is a $7,900 payment.

Thomas asks if you're here because you got a subpoena. Akinwusi says he never got a subpoena.


Thomas is now showing Akinwusi receipts from FAsion International clothing store, asks does he buy his clothes there.  Akinwusi says yes.  Nice clothes.  Yes.

3 invoices from $2000 to more than $3000.  Thomas asks as much as $10,000 a year? yes.

Thomas asks about telling agents that the payment on the Mayor layaway account was not solicited by the Mayor.  Right Larry the guy who sells the clothes told him to do that.  Akinwusi says that a fact.

Thomas says you never heard from the mayor, you told the agents maybe Larry swung with the money?  Objection, over ruled.  Akinwusi says that's why he told them he didn't do it.  Thomas says but this was at the second meeting now.  Akinwusi says yes he denied it, he didn't tell them, he stuck to his original story, said he didn't do it.

Akinwusi says the agents didn't tell him anything, just to tell the truth, and he didn't do that.

Thomas says they told you what they were looking for? both times. Yes.  AFter you were ill. Yes.  Not doing well in your business.  Yes.  You were afraid.  Yes.


Thomas asks if he was invited to donate to Kilpatrick fund at Marina ribbon cutting by Beatty.  Yes.  Asks if he gave 10,000 freely and without any remuneration.  Akinwusi says no, he had expectations.  Thomas asks, were you giving him a bribe.  NO NO NO, Akinwusi scrambles to come up with an answer that sounds good, says he wanted to help the children.

Thomas asks if FBI told him there was a rumor that someone gave an envelope of CAsh to Kwame. Akinwusi says yes he was told that but he didn't give anyone cash.  Thomas asks about campaign cash.  The judge interjects and ask Thomas to clarify his question. Akinwusi eventually says he didn't have any reason to believe the money was going to the campaign.  They're talking about the checks Akinwusi collected from subs and turned over to the campaign.

Thomas is now asking about his talk with the haberdasher about Kwame's suits. 


Thomas asks if Akinwusi was involved in other park projects during Kwame's administration.  Says several.  Asks if he was involved in Manoogian Mansion repairs in 2002 or 2003.  Yes.

Thomas asks if he had ability to talk to Kwame at the ribbon cuttings or Mansion.  No.

ASks if he knew about a meeting at the Mayor's office where black contractors were invited.  Akinwusi says get didn't go and didn't know what the meeting was about.  Did you go to other meetings like this.  Nooo, we had a meeting at Bobby's office.

Thomas asks who is Bernard White.  Akinwusi say he's with White Construction.  Thomas pulls up Kwame's calendar, July 2003, 4pm, Bobby, Bernard White, JOA, Odell Jones, etc, White's office.

Thomas asks if this is the meeting he talked about at Ferguson's office.  Akinwusi says no, the one he went to was at Ferguson's office.

Thomas asks of you remember the year?  Akinwusi says 2005?  Says he doesn't remember or recall this meeting at White's office.


Jim Thomas is up now, asks if the FBI came to his office, Yes.  Were they wearing suits.  Yes.   Were you afraid.  Yes.  You knew the importance of telling these agents the truth.  I know the importance of telling the truth.

Thomas asks if they asked him if he gave anyone anything of value in city government.  You didn't tell them you gave money.  Right.  Asks about them telling him there was a rumor someone gave someone at a clothing store an envelope to pay for suits, did you tell them you never purchased anything, never told them at the first meeting you gave them cash.  Akinwusi says he didn't tell them at that first meeting.

EVelyn asks do you remember how long the meeting was.  Akinwusi says he doesn't remember. Thomas asks if he's having trouble remembering things. Akinwusi says he doesn't have trouble remembering he just doesn't remember that in particular.

Thomas asks if he remembers talking to agents about campaign contributions. ASks if he had a Christmas party and Kwame wasn't invited.  Akinwusi says a friend of his brought Kwame to the party.  Thomas asks if at that time he had contracts with the city.  yes. Says Erma Henderson Marina, and another one.

Thomas asks if the ribbon cutting ceremonies were during the Kilpatrick Administration, and did he get taken off those projects.  No. 

Thomas asks if the Heilmann project was in 2003.  Akinwusi says you're talking about a different project now.  Thomas says I'm not trying to confuse him. Akinwusi says something like really.  Tomas says you'll know it when it comes.  Gets a few chuckles. 

They're sorting out now, who was at the Marina ribbon cutting and who was at the Heilman ribbon cutting.


"all rise" court is back in session after a 12 minute break, I wonder if Judge Edmunds was back on the Tiger's Web site checking that new 5 year deal for Sanchez?

Evelyn is back, and asking about a series of documents that Akinwusi reviewed during the break.  Says these were prepared by an Xcel employment.  First is

transmittal umber 9, a request for information, it's from Bobby Oliver.  EVelyn asks if this is made with the software created by Woodhouse.  Akinwusi says it's an excel spreadsheet and anyone can do this.  EVelyn says so it came from Xcel.  I think Akinwusi is talking about a Microsoft office Excel Spreadsheet and Evelyn id talking about and Woodhouse software spread sheet. NOt clear here.

The content is asking if a drain can be repositioned and has directions for how the task should be done.

EVelyn asks if the project started with David Cypher and did he fire him.  Judge tells them to quit stepping on each other and let each other finish.

Evelyn says didn't you have to fire him.  Akinwusi says that was in 2004.

Evelyn says let's back up, did Woodhouse visit you after your stroke in 2007.  Says yes.  asks if he came to your office later.  Yes.

Did you see him again a few weeks later.  Can't remember, but it was way before the FBI visited him.

EVelyn asks if the FBI visit frightened him. Yes. STill frightened, NO.  Did you ask to borrow $5000. NO.  Sir you're under oath.  I know.  You can't remember a few months ago you asked him for Money.  I don't remember.


Evelyn introducing a bunch more meeting minutes.  ASks for a sidebar. Quick break.


Evelyn is now asking about a delay getting out the contracts for sub contractors.  Akinwusi says there was no delay.

Evelyn says he has a document that shows there was.  Says JOA/Xcel has not provided the contacts.  this was Akinwusi's employees job.  Akinwusi says that's because the drawings were not done.  Says he was not at that meeting but was copied on the job.

Evelyn says there's nothing on the minutes that show that.  Akinwusi say it was discussed at the meeting.

Evelyn asks didn't there come a time when Woodhouse had to step in even though Akinwusi's company was the lead contractor.  Akinwusi says no.

Evelyn now showing meeting minutes showing a sub contractor coordination meeting.  Talks about pushing them to get stuff done. Lists names of 3 subs.  Talks about things that need to be done.  Akinwusi says that's right.

Judge tells Evelyn to move along.  SAys he's made his point and it's not going to change.  Evelyn has a straight forward easy to  understand line of questioning going, tedious and by the book, but easy to understand.  Very different from earlier this morning when it seemed like he was taking one step forward and getting knocked 2 steps back by Akinwusi's answers.



I'll summarize a bit here.  Evelyn has demonstrated though the meeting minutes that Xcel employees had many tasks assigned, were at all the meetings, and had the technical expertise to carry out these tasks.  He assoc a showed that Akinwusi was not at the meetings.

Evelyn now asking about new bid packages for stuff like mechanical work, that will go out to sub contractors, Calvin Hall and Woodhouse fro Xcel are in charge of most of the Bid package segments.

Judge interrupts and asks for sidebar.

It appears the Judge told Evelyn to move into evidence all his meeting minutes because that's what he's doing now.  The Judge Accepts them.  Evelyn is ripping right through them now. Akinwusi wasn't at any of the meetings, he even missed the ribbon cutting meeting, including the Walk through before the ribbon cutting to make sure the job was good.

Evelyn asks it's important isn't it? Akinwusi says yes, for the project manager and the architect.  Says he had about 13 projects going on at the time.


Minutes from October now.  Evelyn says at this time they were trying to figure out if they were going to renovate the existing building or tear it down and start over.  Akinwusi says that's correct.

Minutes show that Akinwusi wasn't at that meeting either.

More meeting minutes, budget issues, zoning board, outlining progress.  Akinwusi says yes.

He wasn't at that one either.

March meeting minutes now, what do you want to bet that Akinwusi wasn't at that one either?

Evelyn asks who's job it was to prepare work scoped for sit.  Woodhouse.  Calvin hall, another Xcel employee is down for another task.  And yes Akinwusi was not at that meeting.  And Evelyn is getting a little edge in his voice, like he's anticipating a score.  It's like a slow motion hockey game.

EVelyn asks if Woodhouse is the person that has the technical ability to do this. Akinwusi says anyone on the team can do this.

Judge asks for date.  March 22nd 2004


Evelyn showing more meeting minutes now.  Judge tell Evelyn to slow down, if you were wondering how he's doing after his illness, it looks like he's back to 100% and running at full speed, and he's outrunning the court clerk.

EVelyn runs through the list, stops at the costs, says direct cost is $5 million, shows that Tyrone Clifton is going to review the need for approval by the Detroit Building authority.

next page shows environmental testing, Akinwusi's employee David Cypher is on that task.

Shows next meeting time and that minutes were prepared by Calvin Hall, an Xcel employee.  Evelyn points out that Akinwusi was not there, for either meeting.  REmemver Akinwusi testified he knew what was going on at all times because they had these weekly meetings and he made it sound like he was at all of them.


Evelyn is showing the page that lists the contacts for the project, Tyrone Clifton for parks and Rec.  Asks if keeping records is important.  Akinwusi says yes.  ASks if it's important to keep records of meetings with subs.  Asks if Woodhouse did the notes of the meetings, acted as Secretary.  Akinwusi says he kept the meeting minutes.  Not a bad job for 35% of the contract, eh?  Don't have to get your boots muddy.

EVelyn showing minutes now from June 2003,  points to line that says Issue notice to proceed to SDG (the architects)  says David Cypher will do that.   Runs through several other examples.

TAke site photos is Woodhouse's job, along with start detailed scheduling after physical needs assessment.  It also shows that Bobby is down for review and comment on JOA/Xcel agreement.  He's not getting his boots muddy yet either.  The last page shows that 7 people at Xcel will get copies of the minutes.  Evelyn says these were all African American partners.  Akinwusi says that's correct.


Court is back in session.  Judge Edmunds just reported the Tigers signed a new pitcher, Sanchez, for 5 years.  Is she a Tiger Fan or what.

Evelyn introduces a new exhibit, it's the proposal for the Heilmann Center project.  He directs Akinwusi to page one, reads the part about the mandatory pre-submittal conference.  Akinwusi says he was there, too, along with Woodhouse from Xcel.


Evelyn says it's a good point for him the break, the Judge says 20 minutes.


Evelyn asks if Akinwusi heard of Bobby toliver.Akinwusi says he worked for Xcel.  Evelyn asks about a few more employees, asks if one guy was replaced by another.  Akinwusi says yes.

Asks if Xcel had some employees in the field and JOA had employees in the field.  Akinwusi says those Xcel employees were not in the field.  Evelyn says but you weren't on the job everyday Akinwusi says he had weekly progress meetings and knew everyone that was on the jobs. Akinwusi says Woodhouse wasn't in the field he compiled his notes from the meetings.

EVelyn asks if there were some problems with the project.  Did he have to get rid of a supervisor because the job wasn't moving fast enough.  ASks if Woodhouse had to step in and take over.  Akinwusi says that's not accurate.

EVelyn is trying very hard to get Akinwusi to admit that Xcel contributed employees but he's been calmly and quietly rebuffed a every turn.


Evelyn asks if they stayed in touch after they left the company doing that project.  Yes. 

Akinwusi says Woodhouse did consulting work for company Akinwusi started after that.

Akinwusi says Woodhouse trained his employees to use the software he developed, admits Woodhouse worked for him.  Says they were friends.

Evelyn asks if he was familiar with Xcel before the partnered with them.  Says he Xcel was his first design and build joint venture.

Evelyn asks if he got a bigger percentage of the fee because he was posting the bond.  Right.

Asks if he couldn't do project without posting bond.  Yes.

EVelyn asks if he's a black male and if Woodhouse is a Black male.  Yes.  ASks if Woodhouse said the city was trying to get minorities to team together and if they teamed up it would help them get the job.  Akinwusi says that was never conveyed to him.

Akinwusi says being capable to do a job doesn't mean you'll get it, you have to  have connections.

Judge Edmunds is telling Evelyn to slow down and stop stepping on Akinwusi answers.



Evelyn asks if he told the FBI he collected the checks in 2002 but then changed that.  Edmunds interjects and says he already told you he said 2002 and tells Evelyn to move on.

EVelyn shows Akinwusi a document...

RAtaj is handing out water cups at the defense table to  Kwame and Bobby and pouring water. 

EVelyn asks about dates on the documents he just handed Akinwusi, asks if they add up to 5 and that's how many times he met with the FBI.  ASks if he told the FBI he made a mistake when he told the FBI about the when he collected the checks but his testimony today is they were for Kwame's re-election.

Akinwusi says he didn't think there was anything wrong, he didn't write the checks, he just collected them.

Evelyn asks if he knew Woodhouse a long time, and met on the Wonderland Mall Enclosure project in Livonia in 1986.  Yes.

ASks if Woodhouse requested Akinwusi be assigned as his assistant. Did Woodhouse train him.  Akinwusi says he already had his training, they worked together, says he doesn't remember it being the case the Woodhouse requested that he be assigned to Woodhouse's unit.


Akinwusi comes across as a plain, blue collar kind of working guy.  Blackwell asks if he told the FBI he paid for suits by the Mayor, says he was scared when they showed up in his office.  Says he closed his company after having a stroke.  Says Woodhouse came to his house when he was recovering to talk about getting more work.  Said he also talked to the Mayor but Kwame told him he had to resolve his issue with Woodhouse first.  Says he never got any city work after that.

Blackwell is done, Evelyn is up.

EVelyn asks if  he has any residual effects from his stroke. Akinwusi says he's fine.

Evelyn puts up the list of payments to Xcel that Blackwell showed earlier showing payments to Xcel. Asks if he lost some records.  Akinwusi says this document came from his computer but he doesn't have the original invoices.  Evelyn asks if his company was going to get 65% of the profit.

Evelyn asks if he collected checks for Kwame's re-election from his sub-contractors.  Says Yes.  ASks if the first time he talked to the FBI was in 2012 and the contracts were in 2005.  Yes.

Evelyn asking about the dates he talked to the FBI.  Akinwusi says he doesn't remember the exact dates.

Asks in any event you had 6 or 7 meetings but they didn't start until early 2012.  They're going back and forth on dates and times and whether the meetings were face to face or on the phone.

Evelyn asks if the FBI was taking notes.  Akinwusi says he can't speak to that.



Blackwell asks about paying Xcel.  Evelyn objects.  Judge Edmunds asks "what was objectionable about that?"  Lets Akinwusi answer.  He says he paid Xcel 151,000 because he didn't want to create waves, and also paid Ferguson for the little work he did.

Blackwell asks if 151,000 was a lot of money to him.  Evelyn objects as irrelevant, the judge sustains, Akinwusi answers yes.  Blackwell tells him he can't answer that question.  Judge Edmunds explains that when she sustains an objection he can't answer it.  You can tell Akinwusi has not been in a court room before,  he rubs his hand over his bald pate and apologizes to the Judge.  She says she'll try to be more clear for him.

Jim Thomas is now asking for a sidebar.


Akinwusi says everything was very calm, with Woodhouse and CAlvin Hall, when they came to talk to him about partnering.  Says he eventually got the contract and Xcel and JOA worked out the percentage of payment.

Says Xcel asks for 36 percent.  Says each partner usually provides employees to the job.  Says Xcel did not proved any employees on the job.  Says JOA provided all the employees, they all came from JOA. 

Blackwell asks if Xcel provided any Bond? No, JOA WAS 100% responsible. ASks if Ferguson did demolition work on job.  yes, didn't think it unusual at the time.

Akinwusi says he thought this was a conflict of interest, but didn't say anything because it would slow the job down.  Says JOA was being paid on time.  Says since Ferguson was part of the team... conflict on interest.  His accent is so thick and so resonant that the microphones in the court are making him sound muddied.  Very hard to understand.  Both the Judge and Blackwell have asked him to repeat himself several times.  This is not a problem when watching court shows on television where professional actors are doing the talking.  This is real people, and something the jury will have to deal with too.


Akinwusi says he was approached to donate to the Kilpatrick Civic Fund in 2002.  Says he gave $10,000, says that was the amount Christine Beatty asked him to contribute.  (Maybe she thought Kwame needed new suits, that IS the same amount Jon Rutherford gave Kwame to buy suits in Dubai.)

Akinwusi being asked about Heilmann Community Center no, it was a design and build contract. Says he put in a bid in a joint venture with Xcel.

Akinwusi testifies that Xcel was affiliated with Bobby Ferguson.  Calvin Hall was also affiliated with Xcel.

Blackwell asks if Michael Woodhouse new they'd received an RFP.  Says  he new Woodhouse and Bobby were close to the Mayor and they'd have a better chance of getting the contract if he partnered with them.

Akinwusi is a 60-ish black man wearing a black suit jacket and an open collared white shirt and black rimmed glasses.  He has a baritone voice and strong accent.  He's a little nervous and is answering  Blackwell's questions before she stops asking them.


Akinwusi says he talked to a friend about the contractor meeting, said he wasn't getting work in the city.  His friend, Kwame's suit maker, told him to write the Mayor a letter.  Says he wrote the letter, and paid for Kwame's suits.   Okay, my colleagues have been making fun of me for doing the "fashion" bog every time I mention how Kwame or Bobby are dressed, but this suit thing ranges from Woodward to Dubai. 

Kwame is wearing a black suit with a white shirt and red tie, his "geek" glasses, black frames just like mine, the difference is he looks cool and mine just make me look like a geek.

So, now that we've addressed the important and crucial topic of dress, I'll get back to the testimony.  After all I'm not being paid to have fun.


Prosecutor Jennifer Blackwell is now introducing Johnson Akinwusi  from JOA construction company.  Blackwell asks if he contributed to Gil HIll.  He says 2500.

Asks if he missed a contractor meeting with the Mayor. Says no.


It's a relaxed and fun bunch in the court room this morning.  Court is in session.  Mr. Rataj is at the podium, he tells the judge he has just 5 minutes of questioning left.  The Judge laughs and says good, I'm jut glad it's Friday.  Rataj turns to Special Agent Paszkiewicz and says just a few questions, she quips, "we'll see."

Rataj is  asking her about a contract for synchronous motor start systems, Improved access to cone valves, improvements to water treatment plant security.  He's showing a Memo that shows D'Agostini and sons got 3 million for a security system.  Paszkiewicz testified earlier that this was a pass through contract. 

Rataj asks a series of questions trying to show she changed her testimony about what the contract was and who got the money.  Paszkiewicz keeps saying she didn't change her testimony.  The conflict here is that D"Agostini and Sons is the contractor of record and Rataj is trying to impeach her testimony that the money went to another company.  But she explained that when she testified it was a pas through contract.


The prosecution started a new chapter...a couple days ago... but we haven't had a chance to hear anything about it because the defense team has been busy cross examining Special Agent Carol Paszkiewicz.

It had been a rather tedious day without much in the way of drama until the last 10 minutes of testimony.  That's when Prosecutor Mark Chutkow ask Paszkiewicz if she saw any other Kwame Kilpatrick text messages or calls where he appeared to be getting input from other contractors on City Issues.  When Paszkiewicz replied, "No," it became clear that it was just Bobby and Kwame conspiring.  And that's a loaded word because Conspiracy is what the Prosecution is trying to prove, and he'll have to prove it, to get a conviction on the RICO charges.


Good morning from the crowded Theodore Levin Federal Court House.  Another long line this morning with prospective jurors coming in.  We'll have to see if the defendants make it through security any earlier today.

Ken Martinek is Senior Producer-Investigations for Fox 2 News.  You can contact him at

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