Kwame Kilpatrick, Bernard Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson were convicted yesterday of a multitude of extortion charges; the jury determined their guilt under the most important of the charges - the powerful statute known as RICO; Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Now comes to light an important factor in this drama-the cost of this trial to the taxpayers. WXYZ.com reports today that the cost is staggering.
Despite all the money determined to have been taken by the Kilpatricks they were represented by public defenders. The cost of their defense to the taxpayers was $125 per hour worked. In a long trial case such as this one, that amount can accrue to high six figures.
Consider this, the lawyers spent at least 10 hours a day working on this case during the trial. Trial day cost is $1,250 per day per lawyer. Even though that is a reduced rate from their usual charge, it is still a hefty daily amount.
However, that amount was earned at the end of the trial process. The two lawyers and their staff worked for months prior to the trial, more than a year and one-half was spent at pre-trial preparation. The cost of the trial prep could run upwards of $300,000 per defendant. But that is just the beginning of the expenses.
Don’t forget that the U.S. Attorney’s office is also funded by the taxpayers. The salaries of the attorneys at the Federal level are fixed and they are not paid for overtime. However, they devoted their resources to this case for over 10 years.
One cost savings to the taxpayers is that Bobby Ferguson paid for the cost of his lawyers and his defense.
Was the result of the Kilpatrick racketeering case worth the cost? WXYZ.com quotes Attorney General McQuade as stating:
"It's a hefty price tag but I believe it's worth the price for the honest government that we can restore to the citizens of Detroit."