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Feds Want to Give a Break to Close Kwame Kilpatrick Confidante Who Testified Against Him

Featured_bell_11205Emma Bell/DOJ photo
By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Emma Bell, Kwame Kilpatrick’s chief fundraiser who provided helpful testimony against the ex-Detroit mayor in last year’s corruption trial, should get a break in her sentencing Thursday in federal court for income tax evasion, federal prosecutors wrote.

In a sentencing memorandum filed Monday, prosecutors Michael Bullotta and Mark Chutkow wrote  that the judge should grant a downward departure from the recommended sentencing guidelines, saying Bell provided “substantial assistance in the  investigation and prosecution of other criminal activity.”

The guidelines call for Bell, 70, to be sentenced anywhere from 18 to 24 months in prison. The government is recommending to U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds that the guidelines range from 9 to 12 months. Bell could even probation.

In a court filing, prosecutors wrote:

Ms. Bell was paid a commission from the funds she raised– usually between 10-15%.  Kwame Kilpatrick required her to kick back half of the money in cash when her  commission checks reached $5,000 or more.

Ms. Bell dutifully complied with Mr. Kilpatrick’s directive; however, she failed to report her commissions on her federal tax returns. As a result, she owes the Internal Revenue Service restitution in the \amount of $334,236 , which represents the additional tax due and owing from her  unreported income for tax years 2003 through 2008.

Bell was teary eyed when she testified Kilpatrick and said he was like a son.

The filing by prosecutors stated:

From the outset, Ms. Bell was cooperative about her failure to pay taxes on her fund raising commissions. Significantly, Ms. Bell volunteered information about misconduct of which the government was unaware, namely, the fact that Kwame Kilpatrick had demanded she pay him cash commission kickbacks.

Ms. Bell took part in numerous proffers, as well as meetings in preparation for trial, and was extremely forthright.

At trial, Ms. Bell testified at length against Kwame Kilpatrick, something that  was emotionally painful for her because of her close relationship with the Kilpatrick family.

Kwame was sentenced in October to 28 years in prison.  His buddy Bobby Ferguson got 21 years.

Read Court of Appeals Ruling 8-14-15

 


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