Beatty court date delayed again in stripper lawsuit
Detroit— A lawyer representing the family of slain stripper Tamara “Strawberry” Greene wants to question former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s cousin, a high-ranking city official, about destroyed e-mails, a new request triggered by testimony last week.
Lawyer Norman Yatooma filed the request late Monday in U.S. District Court in Detroit to question Kilpatrick cousin Patricia Peoples and several others, including Detroit City Councilman Kenneth Cockrel Jr.
The request is the latest bid to determine whether city officials intentionally destroyed e-mails that could shed light on Greene’s unsolved death despite a federal judge’s order to preserve evidence.
“Kilpatrick and the city have thumbed their noses at this court,” Yatooma wrote late Monday.
He said testimony from a parade of current and former city officials, including Kilpatrick, cannot be trusted, he added.
“They all have a pattern and history of dishonesty,” Yatooma wrote.
City lawyer John Schapka declined comment this morning.
The e-mail probe is one aspect of a broader lawsuit filed in 2005 that accuses the former mayor and city of obstructing an investigation into the woman’s unsolved death.
Yatooma asked a federal judge to issue a default judgment against the city for failing to turn over e-mails and other records.
Lawyers for Kilpatrick and the city have asked Chief U.S. District Judge Gerald E. Rosen to dismiss the lawsuit.
Greene, 27, was killed in a drive-by shooting several months after she was linked to the rumored party at the mayor’s Manoogian mansion in fall 2002.
The long-running civil case gained renewed attention last week when Kilpatrick faced questions under oath from Yatooma for the first time publicly.
Testimony will resume March 23 in federal court when Kilpatrick’s former chief of staff and mistress, Christine Beatty, is expected to appear via teleconference.
Yatooma wants court permission to have his own computer expert search computers, storage devices and servers used by Kilpatrick and others.
“Since it is defendants’ obvious failure to preserve evidence that brings us to this point, they should pay the price for this exam, and, ultimately, for their actions,” Yatooma wrote.
The request to question Kilpatrick’s cousin and others is in response to testimony last week from the city’s former top lawyer, John Johnson.
He testified all e-mails and electronic records belonging to Kilpatrick and Beatty were purged at the end of Kilpatrick’s first term in office. Johnson discovered this while looking for e-mails after getting a subpoena from Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.
Peoples, at the time the city’s deputy Human Resources director, informed Johnson about the purging, he testified.
Yatooma also filed a request late Monday to question top city lawyer Krystal Crittendon, Cockrel and Beatty lawyer Mayer Morganroth.