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Tag: Nancy G. Edmunds

Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Walks Into Court Handcuffed, Leaves With New Attorney

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Ex-Detroit Mayor  Kwame Kilpatrick, clad in a tan, khaki prison outfit, entered the federal courtroom in handcuffs and with a smile Thursday morning. He left about 40 minutes later, escorted in handcuffs and with a new court appointed attorney.

Kilpatrick, who was uncuffed during the proceedings, appeared before U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds to ask to fire attorney James Thomas.

Edmunds agreed and appointed veteran attorney Harold Gurewitz, a former federal prosecutor who had assisted part time in Killpatrick’s defense during trial. Kilpatrick complained that Thomas hadn’t assisted him in motions and hadn’t represented him well during trial.

“I like Harold,” Kilpatrick said, standing at the podium, Gurewitz and Thomas by his side.

It was Kilpatrick’s first court appearance since being convicted March 11 of 24 public corruption and tax counts in one of the sadder Detroit tales in recent years involving a high-profile figure. He’s been in prison in Milan ever since, awaiting sentencing, just like his co-defendant Bobby Ferguson.

His father Bernard Kilpatrick, who was convicted of tax counts in the trial, sat in the gallery. He is the only one of three defendants free pending sentencing.

To read more click here.

 

Fed Judge in Detroit Mayor Trial Trying to Trample on Press Rights

By Allan Lengel
For Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — U.S. District Court Judge Nancy G. Edmunds, who is overseeing the corruption trial of ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick in downtown Detroit has a reputation for being a first-rate judge.

But Edmunds is attracting attention because she appears to be unusually concerned with what the media can report during jury selection in the Kilpatrick case. Her actions have prompted Herschel Fink, a noted First Amendment attorney, to write her a letter on behalf of the Free Press that raises concerns about possible violations of the First Amendment.

In what is an extraordinary case, Edmunds issued an extraordinary court order before jury selection. It’s one I had not seen before in federal court.

The order goes like this:

“The media is not permitted to blog about jury selection or otherwise provide any detail that may enable a prospective juror to be identified.”

To read more click here.

 

Can a Heart Attack Help a Defendant in Court? The Feds in Detroit Think So

heart attack
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Does it help a federal defendant’s case  if he has a heart attack while on trial? Can it make the jury far too sympathetic?

Assistant U.S. Attorneys in downtown Detroit prosecuting six members of the Highwaymen Motorcycle Club fear the answer is YES!

Last weekend, three weeks into the trial, defendant Michael Cicchetti, 55,  had a heart attack.  Interestingly, in opening statements, his attorney Sanford Plotkin claimed Cicchetti was a harmless person plagued with multiple ailments and the government was off the mark by charging him with racketeering, drug dealing conspiracy, assault, transporting stolen vehicles and a weapons offense.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds, after learning of the heart attack,   declared a mistrial for Cicchetti and decided he would be tried later while trial would continue for the other five defendants.  On Tuesday, Plotkin told the judge he had spoken to his client, who wanted the trial to go on in absentia.

On Tuesday, the judge spoke by teleconference call to Cicchetti in the hospital, who said he was happy with the trial and wanted it to go on in his absence.  The judge on  Wednesday  obliged. She reversed her mistrial ruling and declared that Cicchetti should be tried in absentia.

The prosecution didn’t like that idea one bit. In fact, it had argued in a motion filed on Tuesday that the judge should declare a mistrial. Period.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Graveline wrote in a motion that after the  judge told the jury about the heart attack “many jurors in their body language and facial expressions, rightly expressed concern for Mr. Cicchetti.”  The prosecutor said the government did not object to the judge telling the jury about the heart attack because it assumed that Cicchetti would be prosecuted later  before a different jury.

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