July 25, 2008

Assault claim tightens terms against Detroit mayor

By ED WHITE
Associated Press Writer

Investigators alleged Friday that Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick berated and attacked them as they tried to serve a subpoena to a friend, and a judge ordered the troubled mayor to pay $7,500 and undergo random drug testing.

The ruling came after the two investigators testified that an irate Kilpatrick launched into a profanity-laced tirade and shoved one of them as they tried to serve the subpoena Thursday to Detroit businessman Bobby Ferguson.

One investigator, a black woman, testified that the black mayor tried to shame her for working with a white colleague.

State police will investigate the suspected assault, Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans said.

Kilpatrick's previous bond was $75,000, but he was not required to pay. After the hearing, Kilpatrick walked out of court and declined to comment. A bail bondsman assisted him in paying the $7,500.

The 38-year-old mayor and his former top aide, Christine Beatty, are charged with perjury, misconduct and obstruction of justice, all tied to their testimony in a civil trial last year.

The mayor also was ordered to undergo the drug testing and is no longer permitted any personal travel outside Michigan. He also cannot travel on business outside the state without the court's approval.

"I see the behavior as totally irrational," Judge Ronald Giles said. "I don't know what was going on in defendant Kilpatrick's life that he exploded, for want of a better term. This is ridiculous."

Kilpatrick's behavior constitutes harassment, Giles said.

"I have locked up defendants for approaching and saying such things to witnesses for a lot less," he said.

James Thomas, one of Kilpatrick's lawyers, said there was no pushing or shoving by the mayor. Another Kilpatrick attorney, Jim Parkman, argued there was a credibility problem because the officers told different versions of the incident.

Brian White, an investigator for the Wayne County Sheriff's Department, testified at Friday's hearing that Kilpatrick a former college football lineman hurled profanities, then "barreled through the door" of a home, grabbed him and threw him into fellow investigator JoAnne Kinney.

White testified he had X-rays taken at a hospital and might have suffered a slight hip fracture.

The investigators had gone to the home of Kilpatrick's sister, Ayanna, and her husband, Daniel Ferguson, to deliver a subpoena to Bobby Ferguson, a relative of Daniel Ferguson's and a close friend of Kilpatrick's. Bobby Ferguson is on the list of witnesses Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy expects to call for the mayor's criminal trial.

White said they had not intended to deliver the subpoena to Bobby Ferguson at that time but were in the neighborhood delivering another subpoena and saw a pickup truck with "Ferguson Construction" on the door. He checked the address and approached the home, he said.

White noticed the mayor's police bodyguards outside the house. He said he flashed his badge, got their OK to proceed and rang the doorbell.

White was told Ferguson wasn't there. Then the detective said he heard a loud voice inside the house.

"It happened so fast. We were just trying to find Bobby Ferguson," Kinney said. "I couldn't believe this was happening. ... He was irate, very mad, upset."

Kinney, who is black, testified that the mayor criticized her for working with White, who is white.

"'You should be ashamed of yourself,'" she quoted Kilpatrick as saying. "'Why are you a part of this?'"

White testified Kilpatrick said, "'You shouldn't even be riding in a car with a guy named White.'"

Parkman argued there was no obstruction of justice because Bobby Ferguson was not at the home.

After the hearing, Thomas disputed that Kilpatrick uttered a profanity, but he declined to discuss it further.

"We don't have to talk about the facts unless there's a charge," he said.

Earlier Friday, Giles postponed a ruling on whether to release to the public more of the text messages that preceded the criminal charges against Kilpatrick.

During a whistle-blowers' trial last summer, Kilpatrick and Beatty denied having a romantic relationship, but those claims are contradicted by text messages already released.

Kilpatrick and Beatty deny the charges.

Giles said he wanted to hear arguments in the future over which messages are covered by various privileges.