Slain exotic dancer’s family thinks text messages will help its cause

The recent allegations that Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick lied in court when asked about his relationship with Chief of Staff Christine Beatty could be fuel for the family of slain exotic dancer Tamara Greene who has sued the mayor and city police officials in federal court.

Greene danced under the name “Strawberry” and had been linked to a long-rumored but never substantiated party at the mayor’s Manoogian Mansion. She was slain in a drive-by shooting in Detroit on April 30, 2003.

Norman Yatooma, the Birmingham lawyer who represents Ernest Flagg, the father of Greene’s son, said a central allegation of his 2005 federal lawsuit is that Greene’s family was denied access to the courts because Detroit police failed to investigate Greene’s murder for political reasons. City officials deny the allegations.

Late Wednesday, Kilpatrick issued a statement that some of 14,000-plus text messages indicating he had a sexual affair with his chief of staff in 2002-03 were “profoundly embarrassing” and “reflect a very difficult period in my personal life.” The mayor’s prepared statement was released by his office after a report surfaced that text messages show he had an intimate relationship with Beatty who has been Kilpatrick’s friend since they were classmates at Cass Tech.

Statements in text messages between Kilpatrick and Beatty, both 37, that Detroit Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown was in fact fired, which Kilpatrick and other city officials had denied, are helpful to the federal complaint, Yatooma said.

Greene’s family believes Brown was fired for trying to investigate Greene’s killing, Yatooma said.

Yatooma said text messages that have not yet been disclosed may also be helpful to the case and he plans to begin efforts today to subpoena all the text messages from the city or whoever else possesses them.

U.S. District Judge Gerald E. Rosen earlier dismissed both Kilpatrick and Beatty as defendants in the Tamara Greene lawsuit. But Yatooma said the revelations about the text messages make it unlikely the mayor and his chief of staff will be dismissed as defendants in an updated complaint filed in federal court earlier this month.

“There isn’t a snowball’s chance in the ninth circle of hell, as hoof-delivered by a flying pig, that the mayor and Christine Beatty are getting out of this lawsuit,” Yatooma said.

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