City must turn over data from Kilpatrick home computer

Detroit — Former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s office computer is missing, but the city has found two external hard drives filled with data taken from his home computer, according to federal court records filed today.

The disclosure was contained in an order signed by a federal judge in U.S. District Court in Detroit. U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen ordered the city to turn over two external hard drives to lawyers representing the family of Tamara “Strawberry” Greene, an exotic dancer who allegedly danced at a never-proven party at the Manoogian Mansion.

Greene family lawyers are trying to find Kilpatrick’s e-mails from September 2002 through June 2003 to see if there is any proof that the ex-mayor or city obstructed a homicide investigation into her death in an unsolved drive-by shooting in 2003.

According to the filing, the city’s computer staff copied contents of two external hard drives labeled “Mayor’s backup” taken from Kilpatrick’s home computer. It’s unclear when the copies were made and how the city gained access to the mayor’s home computer or whether it was a city-issued computer.

Greene family lawyer Norman Yatooma declined comment about the computer and any files, citing a court-issued gag order imposed Dec. 1.

“It’s intriguing,” he said. “The reason we have engaged in such vigorous discovery is the hope that in fact we may discover something. What can I tell ya? Truth is better than fiction and this case seems to have its fair share of both.”

The gag order was imposed the same day the FBI turned over reports to lawyers involved in the Greene case.

The FBI also turned over a report to lawyers today during a status conference. It’s unclear if there is a link between the FBI reports and the discovery of Kilpatrick’s home computer and whether it was seized as part of the criminal case against Kilpatrick.

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 even anti-bugging equipment when he was in office.

Whalen also ordered the city to turn over files that a former city computer specialist downloaded from Kilpatrick’s office computer, which is missing. The files were given to a city attorney but must be turned over within 14 days.

Kilpatrick’s lawyer James C. Thomas will have a chance to review the information before the city turns it over to Yatooma. Thomas will have a week to give the city a log of any information “they deem protected from disclosure,” according to today’s order.

Whalen is deciding whether to sanction the city over destroying Kilpatrick’s computer in 2008.

Kilpatrick filed an affidavit recently saying his computer was given to his successor, Kenneth Cockrel Jr. But Cockrel does not remember receiving Kilpatrick’s computer.

The city also was ordered to turn over the results of a city computer server for e-mails of former Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings, former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty, 36th District Judge Ruth Carter and two former Kilpatrick bodyguards.

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