Jailed Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Victim of Attorney Conflict of Interest ?
Should an attorney disclose to his client, a defendant in a significant case, that he (the attorney) has represented some of the prosecution’s witnesses in unrelated matters?
DETROIT, May 2013, Gus Burns —Imprisoned in the Federal Correctional Institution of Milan since March 11, ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is not sitting by idly.
He’ll return to the federal court in Detroit at 10:30 a.m. Thursday for a status conference. The hearing was scheduled the day after Kilpatrick filed a motion independent of his attorney, James Thomas, requesting a redo of his six-month corruption trial.
Kilpatrick’s longtime pal and convicted City Hall corruption co-conspirator Bobby Ferguson, likewise, is scheduled to be in federal court Thursday. Ferguson has declared himself indigent and wants a publicly-paid lawyer for his upcoming bid-rigging trial.
The problem is, he is unwilling to sign an affidavit or testify as to his assets, the Detroit News reports.
The trial — separate from the Kilpatrick corruption case for which Ferguson was convicted of nine felonies — ended in a mistrial last summer when the jury failed to reach a unanimous decision because of a lone dissenting juror.
U.S. District Judge David Lawson has called for a hearing at 3 p.m. Thursday to reschedule the postponed trial.
Kilpatrick in his request for a new trial cites media bias, improper court procedures and an attorney conflict of interest by Thomas. Thomas, prior to the start of the corruption trial, represented some of the prosecution’s witnesses in unrelated matters.
Federal Judge Nancy G. Edmunds declined Kilpatrick’s pretrial attempt to fire his counsel.
While awaiting his fate, Kilpatrick has also reported medical neglect while jailed related to a knee injury and filed two motions requesting release on bond pending sentencing.
Kilpatrick was found guilty of 24 federal crimes related to public corruption, including racketeering, extortion and tax evasion. He faces greater than 20 years in prison. A sentencing date has not been set.
The former mayor maintains his innocence and vows appeal.
“Defendant Kilpatrick has numerous issues from systematic issues such as the infringement on his Constitutional right to counsel, misleading and wrong jury instructions, lack of an Allen Charge given during jury deliberations, issues related to pretrial publicity, as well as many others,” said a motion for bond entered on his behalf. Kilpatrick “believes that he is innocent of all charges and will tenaciously pursue justice through an appeal.”