Judge orders city to dig up Kilpatrick’s computer data

A federal magistrate today ordered the City of Detroit to conduct a new search for evidence for the lawsuit of a slain stripper said to have danced at a never-proven wild party at the Manoogian Mansion.

Magistrate R. Steven Whalen gave city attorney John Schapka seven days to locate two external hard drives labeled “Mayor’s backup” that were copied by the city’s information technology staff from ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s home computer.

Whalen also ordered Shapka to search for a CD containing files that a city computer specialist downloaded from Kilpatrick’s office computer, the hard drive of which is now missing.

Schapka will have seven days to turn the information over to Kilpatrick’s lawyer, James Thomas, who will have seven days to file any objections with Whalen before turning over the information to Birmingham attorney Norman Yatooma, who represents the family of Tamara Greene.

Greene, 27, was killed in a drive-by shooting in April 2003, some six months after supposedly dancing at a never-proven wild party at the mayoral Manoogian Mansion. Her family sued Kilpatrick and the city, claiming officials sabotaged her murder investigation to prevent her killers from being found.

Kilpatrick and the city have denied that and have asked that the lawsuit be dismissed.

It’s unclear how Whalen found out about the hard drives and CDs. They were not mentioned at any court hearings Whalen had conducted on Yatooma’s request for e-mails for a nine-month period surrounding the party and Greene’s death.

Whalen told lawyers that they couldn’t disclose FBI reports that were given to lawyers on Dec. 1 and Dec. 6 or conversations Whalen had with the lawyers in his chambers on both dates.

The city says it doesn’t have the e-mails because the city’s server automatically purged them after seven days. Yatooma contends that the city is concealing evidence and has asked for sanctions.

Whalen on Friday cancelled today’s continuation of an evidentiary hearing where Kilpatrick was to testify.

City attorney John Schapka wouldn’t comment on today’s order.

Said Yatooma: “People accuse me of going on fishing expeditions, but sometimes, when you go fishing, you catch something.”

Thomas didn’t return calls.


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