Kilpatrick denies e-mail exchange in Greene case
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick denied Monday that he sent, received or destroyed any e-mails referring to the killing of a stripper rumored to have danced at a never-proved party at the Manoogian Mansion.
Kilpatrick, in his most detailed comment surrounding the death of Tamara (Strawberry) Greene, said she was never even a topic of conversation in his office.
“I’ve never had a communication electronically or otherwise about the case of Tamara Greene,” Kilpatrick testified during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Detroit.
“We never discussed Tamara Greene, we never discussed any investigation, we never discussed police and what they were doing … because it had nothing to do with us.”
Kilpatrick, serving prison time for a probation violation in the text-messaging scandal that drove him from office in 2008, testified in the lawsuit Greene’s family filed after she was killed in a drive-by shooting in April 2003, about eight months after she supposedly danced at the rumored bash.
Family lawyer Norman Yatooma contends that Kilpatrick and other city officials derailed her murder probe.
Lawyers for Kilpatrick and the city have denied that and want the case dismissed.
Monday’s hearing dealt with Yatooma’s claims that Kilpatrick and the city destroyed e-mails and other key evidence.
Kilpatrick admitted deleting some e-mails, but nothing related to Greene. He said the e-mails exist somewhere, even though the city says the e-mails for the period from the party to Greene’s death were destroyed automatically by the city’s computer system.
He said his primary method of communicating was with text messages.
“A great number of people have been able to find things I’ve deleted before, Mr. Yatooma,” he said.
Two former Detroit Law Department chiefs — John Johnson and 36th District Judge Ruth Carter — testified that they never told Kilpatrick to preserve e-mails for the Greene suit.
Yatooma said he wasn’t surprised by Kilpatrick’s testimony, calling him “a seasoned liar and a convicted liar.”
Yatooma wants a federal judge to issue a default judgment against the city — which would declare him winner of the suit — for destroying evidence. City attorney John Schapka has denied Yatooma’s allegations.
Kilpatrick lawyer James Thomas said after the hearing that Yatooma has an uphill battle. The hearing resumes Wednesday.