Kwame Kilpatrick: I gave missing computer to Ken Cockrel Jr.

Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has an explanation for where his missing computer went: he gave it to his successor, Ken Cockrel Jr.

“Upon my departure, I set up a transition team and that computer was handed over to Ken Cockrel, Jr,” Kilpatrick stated in an affidavit filed today in U.S. District Court.

Kilpatrick also said that he deleted most of his e-mails, noting that he didn’t know “how to archive or store any e-mails.”

“During all relevant times while I was Mayor, I would delete most e-mails after reading and, if necessary, respond to the e-mail which had been sent to me. After responding, I typically deleted the e-mail that I was responding to,” Kilpatrick stated in his affidavit.

The whereabouts of Kilpatrick’s computer has triggered a legal controversy as a federal magistrate judge is currently considering sanctioning the city for destroying Kilpatrick’s computer and, consequently, destroying e-mails that could be relevant to numerous lawsuits.

The disappearance of Kilpatrick’s computer became public last month, when city lawyer John Schapka disclosed during an evidentiary hearing that computers belonging to Kilpatrick, and his ex-mistress and former chief of staff Christine Beatty, where thrown out and replaced in February 2008 – seven months before Kilpatrick resigned.

The disclosure was made during a hearing in the lawsuit involving slain exotic dancer Tamara Greene, whose family is suing the city and Kilpatrick, alleging they botched Greene’s murder investigation. Greene, 27, of Detroit, was killed in a drive-by shooting in April 2003, some six months after she supposedly danced at a rumored but never-proven party at the Manoogian Mansion.

The city and Kilpatrick have denied a cover up and are seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed.

Meanwhile, U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen scheduled a hearing for Dec. 1 to help him decide whether to sanction the city for destroying Kilpatrick’s computer, and spoiling electronic evidence potentially crucial to lawsuits.

Attorney Norman Yatooma, who is representing the Greene family, has requested a default judgment against the city, claiming it intentionally destroyed e-mails relevant to his lawsuit.

Kilpatrick’s lawyer, Jim Thomas, countered in documents filed today that sanctions aren’t warranted, holding that Yatooma waited “until the very last day of discovery” to ask for Kilpatrick’s e-mails.

“Other than wild speculation, Plaintiffs have provided no evidence to support their contention that any allegedly missing e-mails contain any information relevant to their claim,” Thomas wrote.

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