Kwame Kilpatrick to testify Monday
Detroit— Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick will testify Monday at a hearing in federal court that could help a judge decide whether to sanction the city over supposedly destroying his computer in 2008.
In the meantime, the city will search its computer servers for any e-mails belonging to Kilpatrick’s former chief of staff, Christine Beatty, former Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings and former Detroit Corporation Counsel Ruth Carter who is now a 36th District judge.
Kilpatrick will be questioned about an affidavit he signed last month claiming he did not know how to archive or store e-mails while mayor.
“From what I know about Kwame Kilpatrick, after he says his first name and last name, everything else out of his mouth is a lie,” said lawyer Norman Yatooma, who represents the family of Tamara “Strawberry” Greene. She allegedly performed at a rumored Manoogian Mansion party in 2002 and was killed months later in an unsolved drive-by shooting.
Greene family lawyers want Kilpatrick’s e-mails from September 2002 through June 2003 to see if there is any proof that the ex-mayor or city obstructed the homicide investigation.
A three-and-a-half hour hearing was held today in U.S. District Court in Detroit to help the judge decide whether to sanction the city for supposedly destroying Kilpatrick’s computer.
The hearing featured testimony of Terrance Sims, a Detroit employee who oversees the city’s e-mail system. He supervised a search last month for Kilpatrick’s e-mail but did not find any e-mails in the former mayor’s inbox from September 2002 through June 2003.
The search did find unopened or undeleted e-mails from 2006 through last month, showing Kilpatrick’s e-mail address continues to receive messages, though it’s mostly spam.
Sims said the discovery shocked a city lawyer who in July claimed Kilpatrick and Beatty’s e-mails and accounts were deleted and purged from the city’s system two years ago.
“When I delivered the e-mails, they were kind of surprised,” Sims testified before U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen.
He suspects the lawyer was confused about how the city’s computer technicians are able to recover certain e-mails that hadn’t been trashed by the recipient.
Sims testified that if a user sends e-mails to their trash basket, the e-mails are purged within seven days from the city’s computer servers. The e-mails are irretrievable unless the user manually archives the messages or saves a copy on their computer’s hard drive.
Kilpatrick claims he never archived or saved e-mails.
But that claim is impossible to prove without his computer, Yatooma said.
Whalen said today Kilpatrick’s testimony is “necessary.”
City lawyer John Schapka said computers belonging to Kilpatrick and Beatty were thrown away and replaced in February 2008 — even though the Greene suit and other cases were pending.
Kilpatrick filed an affidavit last week saying it was given to his successor, Ken Cockrel Jr., in September 2008. Cockrel said he does not remember Kilpatrick leaving a computer behind.
Yatooma has requested a default judgment against the city for intentionally throwing away Kilpatrick’s computer. He also said the city should pay a sizable fine.
Kilpatrick, who is in federal prison for violating probation, was indicted June 23 on 19 fraud and tax counts. He was accused of turning the Kilpatrick Civic Fund charity into a personal slush fund for cash, travel, yoga, summer camp and anti-bugging equipment when he was in office.