Beatty denies sending, getting or deleting Greene emails
Detroit— Kwame Kilpatrick’s former chief of staff, Christine Beatty, testified today she did not send, receive or destroy any emails about slain stripper Tamara “Strawberry” Greene, the police investigation into her death or a civil lawsuit filed by her relatives.
Beatty, who moved to Atlanta following the text-message scandal that led to her and the former mayor’s ouster from public office in 2008, spent about 55 minutes testifying via teleconference in U.S. District Court in Detroit.
She followed a parade of former Kilpatrick administration officials, who have testified over the past several weeks, all of whom said they did not destroy evidence related to Greene. Greene, 27, was killed in a drive-by shooting several months after she was linked to a rumored party at the mayor’s mansion in fall 2002.
“At any time did you ever intentionally destroy emails concerning Tamara Greene?” city lawyer John Schapka asked Beatty.
“No, I did not,” Beatty replied.
Greene family lawyer Norman Yatooma is trying to prove whether Kilpatrick or the city intentionally destroyed email messages that could shed light on Greene’s death. It’s 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.
U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen said today he would let Yatooma question his own computer expert and two other witnesses, including Kilpatrick cousin Patricia Peoples, the city’s former deputy human resources director.
Peoples told the city’s former top lawyer, John Johnson, that Beatty’s and Kilpatrick’s emails and electronic records were purged at the end of Kilpatrick’s first term in office.
Beatty sounded confident and direct under questioning by Yatooma. But the questioning was slowed by Yatooma having to frequently repeat questions to Beatty, who in many instances could not hear the question being relayed over the phone.
She was not required to testify in person and her exact location today was unclear.
Her lawyer, Jeffrey Morganroth, said she is working in administrative management and as a consultant, handling marketing and management for a company.
She works somewhere between part-time and full-time, he said.
“It pays the bills but not enough to support her family,” Morganroth said outside court. “Her income level is not very high. It’s a struggle financially.”
After moving to Georgia, Beatty moved into a $375,000 condominium east of downtown Atlanta, according to public records.
Beatty is not paying her lawyers.
“She doesn’t have the capacity to pay us,” he said. “We are not going to desert her.”
But the move to Atlanta has helped Beatty, he said.
“She is trying to move on with her life and put the pieces back together,” Morganroth said. “She loves Detroit and wishes she was here but under the circumstances, it’s better that she’s not.”