Kilpatrick will not have to testify Monday after magistrate postpones hearing

WXYZ) Detroit’s former mayor will be staying in his prison cell Monday. Kwame Kilpatrick had been scheduled to testify in a federal court hearing in the slain stripper lawsuit.

The courtroom was being prepared to handle extra members of the media, the U. S. Marshals were ready to transport the former mayor from prison to downtown Detroit… and then suddenly, Monday’s hearing was postponed.

It has become a familiar site — Detroit’s former mayor on the witness stand. Kwame Kilpatrick was scheduled to be sworn in yet again on Monday – but a federal magistrate postponed the hearing.

The Magistrate had ordered Kilpatrick to testify about email messages that may have been stored on his city computer, which is now missing.
The testimony could have helped the Magistrate determine which sanctions, if any, should be taken against the City of Detroit for either destroying or losing emails and computers that once belonged to the former mayor, his former chief of staff Christine Beatty, and his former corporation counsel Ruth Carter.

“Pick a lie, any lie, and stick with it. See, we hear initially the computers are trashed. Then we hear the computers were transferred, just to other personnel. Now we hear the computers are entirely all together irrelevant,” said attorney Norman Yatooma.

Yatooma is suing Kilpatrick and the City of Detroit on behalf of Tamara Greene’s children, alleging the former mayor and the city thwarted the investigation into her murder. Greene was a stripper who allegedly danced at a rumored wild party at the Manoogian Mansion. She was shot to death in 2003. Yatooma says the city should be punished for destroying evidence.

“Kwame Kilpatrick? His Honor? Who sits in jail right now for perjury? For lying? Who we’re accusing in this case for obstructing the murder investigation of Tammy Greene – deleting emails? He wouldn’t think twice about it,” said Yatooma.

“Was this a plan to keep evidence from the other side,” asked Wayne State Law Professor Peter Henning. He says the hearings on whether evidence was spoiled are critical.

“Whenever a court has any indication that one side might not have properly persevered evidence, or even worse took active steps to destroy or otherwise make inaccessible evidence, then the court’s going to be very concerned, because people do that for a reason usually,” said Henning.
Henning says if Kilpatrick takes the stand to discuss his emails – his lawyer could advise him not to testify, to avoid incriminating himself in this case or in his pending federal tax fraud case.

“It could be used against you down the road, so there could be a concern that if there was, in fact, intentional conduct in getting rid of the computers, the hard drives, things like that. That could lead to an obstruction of justice charge,” said Henning.

The attorneys for the city and for Kwame Kilpatrick deny that Greene’s murder investigation was obstructed, and they are trying to have the case thrown out. But the judge won’t decide on whether to dismiss the lawsuit until this issue about possible destruction of evidence is resolved.

Yatooma says, “In place of the Evidentiary Hearing, a Status Conference has been convened for Monday so the Judge can apprise us of new developments. Then, the evidentiary hearing will be scheduled at that time. We are still going to court to address the Kwame Kilpatrick spoliation of evidence issues.”

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