Dig unearts Kilpatrick’s emails, court told

Detroit— The city has found some old e-mail messages belonging to ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and has preserved them, a city employee said in a court filing today.

Terrence Sims, a Detroit employee who oversees the city’s e-mail system, recently supervised a search for Kilpatrick’s e-mail, according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

Lawyers representing the family of slain stripper Tamara “Strawberry” Greene want Kilpatrick’s e-mails from September 2002 through June 2003 to see if there is any proof that the ex-mayor and city obstructed an investigation into Greene’s death in 2003.

While Sims’ search failed to find archived e-mails from September 2002 through June 2003, a group of e-mails were uncovered and extracted, Sims wrote in the affidavit.

The Sims affidavit was attached to a filing from a city lawyer arguing that the city should not be penalized for failing to preserve Kilpatrick’s e-mails. The e-mails were automatically deleted years before Greene’s lawyers asked for them, lawyer John Schapka wrote today.

Kilpatrick’s e-mails were automatically deleted by the city’s computer server years earlier, when it was unforeseeable that the controversial mayor’s messages could hold evidentiary value, Schapka wrote.

“Such foresight would constitute clairvoyance…” Schapka wrote.

And since the e-mails were long ago deleted, and because Kilpatrick never saved his e-mails, it doesn’t matter what happened to Kilpatrick’s desktop computer, Schapka wrote.

Schapka said the computer was thrown away in 2008.

Kilpatrick said this week he left the computer for his successor, Ken Cockrel Jr.

Cockrel says he doesn’t remember receiving any computer from Kilpatrick.

Greene family lawyer Norman 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.

Greene, 27, was killed in a drive-by shooting several months after she was linked to the rumored but never proven party at the mayor’s mansion in fall 2002.

Once Kilpatrick sent e-mails to his trash basket, the messages were automatically deleted by the city’s computer server after seven days.

Kilpatrick could have archived e-mails, but said in an affidavit filed earlier this week that he didn’t know how.

Schapka objected to Yatooma’s request that the city pay for an expert to search the city’s computer servers in hopes of finding Kilpatrick’s e-mails.

“An expert working at plaintiffs’ direction and at the city’s expense, is nothing more than another unwarranted and unreasonable waste of money spent in the pursuit of another non-existent wild goose,” Schapka wrote.

The city already spent $10,000 downloading 11 million police department electronic files and delivering them on four external hard drives to Yatooma.

Given Kilpatrick’s use of text messages, which helped derail his political career and send him to prison, his city e-mails could be useful, Yatooma argued in an earlier court filing.

“If the text messages brought down the king, the e-mails would have brought down the kingdom,” Yatooma wrote.
But Schapka disagreed today.

“Contrary to such contention, an argument may be made that the volume of Kilpatrick’s text messaging left him little time to do anything else, including being tied to a desk to field emails,” Schapka wrote.


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