“A true friend stabs you in the front.” Oscar WildeBy Allan Lengel For Deadline Detroit DETROIT –– Betrayal.
There ex-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick sat in federal court Thursday morning, bow tie and suit, leaning at first to the left, looking dour, as if someone was about to punch him in the stomach.
In front of him, was Emma Bell, his former chief fundraiser, betraying him, testifying for the government that she gave Kilpatrick more than $200,000 in kickbacks from donations to various funds including the Kilpatrick for Mayor Fund.
She once looked at him as a son. Thursday morning, she could barely look at him. And at times she could barely talk, pausing when questioned by prosecutor Michael Bullotta.
“It’s not easy for me to be here, sir,” Bell said. She explained that she had a strong relationship with Kilpatrick and his family since the 1970s. They all attended the same church.
She testified that her first commission check for fundraising for Kilpatrick was for $100,000 in 2003. But she said Kilpatrick suggested he get a piece of her commission, so she eventually gave him a kickback for $40,000 or $50,000.
Her testimony is the most damaging to date. The government has alleged that she made about $900,000 in commissions from fundraising and gave Kilpatrick about $250,000 in kickbacks. The trial is in its second week. Kilpatrick faces multiple charges of bribery, extortion and income tax evasion.
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