Kilpatrick to testify in stripper lawsuit amid claims from alleged party witness

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Detroit — Three days after an affidavit surfaced from an alleged Manoogian Mansion party eyewitness, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick will be brought to the federal courthouse in downtown Detroit from Milan prison to be questioned Thursday in a lawsuit over the unsolved murder of a slain exotic dancer.

Kilpatrick’s deposition comes five years after the family of dancer Tamara “Strawberry” Greene sued Kilpatrick and the city, alleging they obstructed the investigation into her April 30, 2003, fatal drive-by shooting.

It comes three days after a sworn affidavit from Wilson Kay Jr., a convicted felon who claims to have worked security at a 2002 Manoogian party where Greene was allegedly assaulted, was leaked to the news media. Kilpatrick could be questioned about Kay’s affidavit, which has been provided to James C. Thomas, Kilpatrick’s Detroit attorney, and other defense lawyers.

Greene was linked to a rumored stripper party at the mayor’s official residence in the fall of 2002. As set out in court documents, a theory of the plaintiffs is that Kilpatrick’s wife, Carlita, assaulted Greene after showing up at the mansion and finding the stripper party under way. The Kilpatricks and city officials deny the allegations.

The deposition, scheduled to start at 10 a.m., is to last seven hours. That means it could stretch past 5 p.m., since breaks don’t count against the seven hours allowed under federal court rules.

Kilpatrick, 40, is housed at the federal prison at Milan, where he is serving time for a state probation violation and awaiting trial on federal fraud and tax charges.

Thomas said the deposition will be held at the courthouse, rather than Milan, so Chief U.S. District Judge Gerald E. Rosen can be on hand to rule on any disputes that might arise between attorneys.

Thomas said today he will wait until he is inside the deposition before making any decisions on whether to recommend Kilpatrick invoke his Fifth Amendment rights, given his pending criminal charges.

“The depositions in this case have gotten pretty far afield to the real issue, and that is what, if anything, happened at the Manoogian Mansion, and what, if anything, was done to hinder the (murder) investigation,” Thomas said.

“It’s our position that the party never took place, even in the face of the ludicrous allegations of this Wilson Kay, who has yet to be subject to cross-examination.”

Kay, who canceled a scheduled deposition last week, also said Attorney General Mike Cox, who had not then been elected to that post, was a guest at the party. Cox and others have denounced the allegations as “bold-faced lies.”

Thomas said Kilpatrick also denies he was involved in any obstruction of the investigation into Greene’s still unsolved murder.

The deposition, to be held under seal, will be videotaped and Kilpatrick will be allowed to wear a business suit, not prison garb, Thomas said.

Christine Beatty, Kilpatrick’s former chief of staff and a former defendant in the lawsuit, is being deposed in the case today, her Birmingham attorney Mayer Morganroth said. Morganroth said he is out of town and his son, attorney Jeffrey Morganroth, is handling Beatty’s deposition, which began at 10 a.m. at the Morganroth law offices. He declined further comment, citing a partial gag order in the case.

Birmingham attorney Norman Yatooma represents Greene’s family in the lawsuit, set to go to trial early next year.

http://detnews.com/article/20100728/METRO/7280391

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