Christine Beatty: I never deleted Tamara Greene-related e-mail

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Christine Beatty today joined a growing chorus of former Detroit mayoral aides to say they never sent, received or deleted any e-mail dealing with Tamara Greene, the slain stripper said to have danced at a rumored party at the Manoogian mansion.

“No, I did not,” Beatty said when asked if she destroyed any such e-mail.

She also said she didn’t know of anyone who sent, received or deleted e-mail about Greene, who was killed in a drive-by shooting in April 2003, some eight months after supposedly dancing at the party.

Beatty, ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s former lover and chief of staff, testified by telephone from Atlanta during a one-hour hearing in U.S. District Court in Detroit. She resigned from office and eventually served time in jail in the text messaging and perjury scandal that drove Kilpatrick from office. She moved to Atlanta to get a new start.

Birmingham lawyer Norman Yatooma represents Greene’s family, which sued Kilpatrick and the city, saying city officials sabotaged her murder investigation to prevent her killers from being found. The city and Kilpatrick have denied the claim and have asked a federal judge to dismiss the suit.

But before that issue can be dealt with, federal Magistrate R. Steven Whalen must deal with Yatooma’s ongoing request to penalize the city for failing to produce e-mail, computers and hard drives for his lawsuit. Yatooma wants Whalen to issue a default judgment, in effect declaring him the winner of the suit, or impose other sanctions against the city and Kilpatrick.

Beatty, like earlier witnesses, testified that she rarely deleted e-mail and left it behind when she resigned.

Yet, Yatooma said the city provided no email in response to request for them.

Yatooma says the city, through negligence or dishonesty, destroyed e-mail that could show whether Kilpatrick or other city officials derailed Greene’s murder probe.

“They’ve all been deleted or purged,” Yatooma said after the hearing. Or, he said they may still be sitting in the city’s computer system

The city says is has produced everything that Yatooma requests

Kilpatrick, former Law Department director Ruth Carter — now a 36th District Court judge — and former Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings indicated in testimony earlier this month that they saved all of the e-mail in their sent box on the city’s computer system and destroyed some or many of the emails in their inbox.

Because a city computer specialist testified in December that Detroit’s computer system only purges e-mail from the trash folders, Yatooma said the city should have been able to produce e-mail from the sent or inboxes of several past or present employees.

Whalen agreed today to let Yatooma call three other witnesses: Law Department director Krystal Crittendon, former mayoral staffer Patricia Peoples and a computer expert.

Yatooma hopes to find out from the first two what steps the city took to preserve email after the lawsuit was filed. He wants his computer expert to be allowed to inspect the city’s computer system to find e-mail that wasn’t produced for the suit.

Beatty testified during today’s hearing that she has been working as part-time consultant. Her lawyer, Jeffrey Morganroth of Birmingham, said she’s been struggling to make a living while trying to raise her children.

“She’s been trying to move on with her life, spend time with her children and put the pieces back together,” Morganroth said. “But she’s been struggling with all of this publicity. It’s been a struggle for her financially.”

Although Morganroth said she doesn’t have the money to pay for continued legal representation, he said his law firm won’t desert her.

http://www.freep.com/article/20110323/NEWS01/110323041/1001/news/Christine-Beatty-Never-deleted-Tamara-Greene-email

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