Bernard Kilpatrick defends son heading into deposition

Birmingham — After a controversial delay, Bernard Kilpatrick, father of disgraced ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, arrived 15 minutes early today to be deposed in a lawsuit involving the death of an exotic dancer who allegedly performed at a rumored Manoogian Mansion party.

Kilpatrick was spotted arriving at the Birmingham law office of Norman Yatooma, the attorney representing the family of Tamara Greene. Greene allegedly danced at the long-rumored but never-proven party.

Kilpatrick told reporters it is “terrible” that he is being deposed and insisted there was no party.

He blamed the civil lawsuit on “greedy” people trying to get money and called the father of Greene’s son a “deadbeat” dad.

“I’m angry to even be here,” he said.

Bernard Kilpatrick also defended his son, saying his life has been “dedicated to the people of Detroit.”

“Now they’re trying to pin a murder on him,” he said. “It’s crap.”

Bernard arrived in a Nissan Maxima with Texas plates and wearing a brown pin-striped suit, brown and tan brogues and a diamond stud in his left earlobe.

“How do I look?” he asked reporters. “I’m fine. I’m cool.”

Bernard Kilpatrick arrived with his lawyer, Bobbie Gray Edmunds of Fort Worth, Texas, who repeatedly tried to get him to stop talking to reporters.

Yatooma expects Bernard Kilpatrick to invoke his Fifth Amendment right to protect against self-incrimination.

“Bernard Kilpatrick is like a box of chocolates: You never know what you are going to get,” Yatooma told reporters. “He’s got something to hide that justifies trying to quash two subpoenas and risking being held in contempt. I’d like to know what he’s got to hide.”

He rebuked Bernard Kilpatrick for leveling the deadbeat accusation.

“Bernard Kilpatrick calling someone else a deadbeat dad is rich,” Yatooma said.

In 1982, Kwame Kilpatrick’s mother, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, petitioned the court, alleging Bernard Kilpatrick owed $4,222.50 in back child support. A judge ordered his pay garnisheed, first from Career Works, and then in 1987, the court did the same — withholding $140 a week — from his Wayne County Commission paycheck.

Kwame Kilpatrick lawyer James C. Thomas arrived outside Yatooma’s office at 9:30 a.m.

“I’m here to see what Bernard has to say,” Thomas told reporters after exiting his black Lexus with the vanity plate “Recusal.”

Last week, Thomas talked to his client, who is serving 14 months in a state prison for violating probation from criminal charges stemming from the text message scandal.

“He’s doing good; his spirits are good,” Thomas said. “Kwame Kilpatrick is a fighter. He’s not giving up.”

Greene’s family is suing Kwame Kilpatrick and other city officials in federal court, claiming the Detroit Police investigation into Greene’s drive-by killing in April 2003 was quashed. Bernard Kilpatrick failed to appear at a scheduled deposition three weeks ago in Fort Worth, Texas, where he now lives.

Yatooma asked U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen to hold Bernard Kilpatrick in contempt of court for the no-show. A hearing is scheduled for this afternoon, although the hearing is expected to be canceled now that Bernard Kilpatrick is being deposed.

Both Bernard Kilpatrick and his son are part of a federal investigation into city corruption. A federal indictment was handed up against Kwame Kilpatrick last month, alleging that he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars donated to the Kilpatrick Civic Fund, a community educational organization controlled by family and friends, on travel, yoga lessons and other personal expenses. The charges carry penalties of up to 20 more years behind bars.

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