Closing arguments are set to get underway this week in the corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. In what has been dubbed the “Kilpatrick Enterprise” by the prosecution, Kilpatrick, his father Bernard, and lifelong friend Bobby Ferguson have been accused of running a criminal enterprise out of the mayor’s office to enrich themselves. Prosecutor’s claim that Ferguson scored big, raking in some $120 million in city revenue while his friend was mayor. In addition, the prosecution states that Ferguson shared his ill-gotten gains with Kilpatrick, who according to bank records, spent $840,000 more than his mayoral salary could cover during his tenure. Not to be outdone, Bernard Kilpatrick cashed in on his son’s success. Prosecution claims that Bernard Kilpatrick made money as a consultant to wealthy businessmen who needed help winning contracts while his son was mayor. According to the prosecution, those businessmen threw cash and gifts his way. Despite five months of testimony -- 80 government witnesses, bank checks, text messages, secret video and voice recordings, Mr. Kilpatrick, Ferguson, and Bernard Kilpatrick continue to maintain their innocence. Once thought to be the “Breath of Fresh Air” that would revive a dying city, Kwame Kilpatrick now finds himself just a stone’s throw away from spending decades in a federal prison. If convicted on all 33 counts (1 count of racketeering conspiracy; 9 counts of extortion; 4 counts of bribery; 13 counts of mail and wire fraud; and 5 counts of filing false tax returns; and 1 count of income tax evasion), Kwame Kilpatrick would serve more than 70 years in prison. He would most likely die in prison. As for Mr. Ferguson and Bernard Kilpatrick, they too, are on the verge of expiring behind bars. Bobby Ferguson is facing 14 counts (1 count of racketeering conspiracy; 9 counts of extortion; and 4 counts of bribery), and if convicted on counts would serve 50 years in a federal penitentiary. Bernard Kilpatrick is facing 6 counts (1 count of racketeering conspiracy; 2 counts of extortion; and 3 counts of filing a false tax return), and if convicted on all counts, the 72-year old Kilpatrick would be facing more than 40 years in prison. What is assured is that the three will soon learn of their fate.
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