Lawyer seeks text messages from night of stripper’s 2003 death
DETROIT — An attorney is seeking text messages and other electronic communications for about 18,000 city of Detroit employees in a lawsuit filed on behalf of the son of a slain stripper.
Subpoenas also were filed Monday in U.S. District Court for text messages, instant messages, e-mails and telephone messages between the city’s chief information officer Derrick Miller and Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty in 2003, Birmingham, Mich. attorney Norman Yatooma said.
The subpoenas are part of a $150 million lawsuit filed on behalf of Tamara Greene’s 14-year-old son, Jonathan Bond. Among those named in the suit are Kilpatrick, Beatty and Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings.
Greene, 27, whose stage name was Strawberry, was found shot to death early on April 30, 2003 in a car on the city’s northwest side.
She was rumored to have performed in 2002 at a party at the Manoogian Mansion, the mayor’s official residence.
Yatooma claims that Kilpatrick’s office has stifled the investigation into her death.
His request is focused on city employees using text messages or other electronic communications between 1:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. on the day Greene was killed, Yatooma said.
“The lion’s share of the 18,000 employees don’t have Skytel message systems,” he said, referring to the city’s communications provider. “We’re only looking for the ones who have got them and were awake and texting or e-mailing.”
He also is seeking global position system coordinates from city-issued pagers that show the location of each employee, Yatooma said.
A lawyer representing Kilpatrick, Beatty and Bully-Cummings said Monday’s filing is a grab for publicity in a meritless case. Mayer Morganroth said he filed a motion Friday to throw out the suit and will seek to have the subpoenas quashed as well.
“I’m quite convinced the case is going to be dismissed,” Morganroth said.
Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox investigated and said he found no evidence of such a party at the Manoogian Mansion. Michigan State Police investigators also said that they found no evidence of wrongdoing following claims of a cover-up.
Kilpatrick repeatedly has denied such a party took place.
His office would not comment on Monday’s filings by Yatooma, spokesman James Canning said.
The Detroit Free Press first reported last month on embarrassing and sexually explicit Skytel text messages between the married mayor and Beatty.
The text messages were left between 2002-2003 and show Kilpatrick and Beatty had an intimate physical relationship, something both denied under oath last summer in a whistle-blowers’ lawsuit by two former officers who alleged they were fired or forced to resign for investigating claims that Kilpatrick used his security unit to cover up extramarital affairs.
Kilpatrick and Beatty also denied conspiring to have one of the officers fired.
Documents unsealed in court last week show that Kilpatrick and Beatty approved a confidential agreement with the officers’ lawyer to keep hidden details of the city’s $8.4 million settlement of the whistle-blowers’ suit.
The city has asked the state Appeals Court to rule against a lower court’s decision to release other documents from that settlement and a deposition from the officers’ lawyer.
The Court of Appeals has yet to rule on the matter.
A prosecutor is investigating if Kilpatrick committed perjury during the whistle-blowers’ trial.
Beatty has resigned from her post.