Jurors at the second murder trial of Marvin Kilpatrick set out to determine if the former Detroit mayor was guilty
Attorneys presented dueling portraits of Arbery on Tuesday as the second murder trial for former Detroit mayor, Arty Kilpatrick, got under way.
A jury is being selected for the trial at federal court in Detroit. Kilpatrick has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiring to murder Fredrick Bell in 2000, and trying to have him killed or buried with a machete.
To bolster their argument, prosecutors pointed to an interview in 2001 with a former Kilpatrick aide in which Jonelle Eshoo said she had heard of Bell’s supposed murder.
The city’s new mayor at the time, Kwame Kilpatrick, a son of the mayor, has admitted extorting money from people who wanted to do business with the city while under Kilpatrick’s supervision, and on Tuesday, the government told the jury that his son’s actions could be considered part of a broader pattern.
But defense attorney Bob Troester said there was no direct evidence that the younger Kilpatrick knew what was going on with the murders.
Jonathan Smith, another attorney for Kilpatrick, said his client has been unjustly accused by the government. He said he would not try to elevate the egos of other people to advance his client’s defense.
The younger Kilpatrick is serving two federal convictions in California. At least 13 people were killed during the period of alleged racketeering.
After Tuesday’s opening arguments, jurors took their seats for lunch without shaking hands, and some were visibly uncomfortable with the setting.
When one juror, who declined to give his name, asked for a judicial guide to what constitutes reasonable doubt, Judge Gerald Rosen responded by inviting him to go to a lawyer’s office with him to get it.
The same juror was being called again to the stand as the jury was dismissed for lunch. The judge has not publicly identified them.
The second trial, expected to last several weeks, comes two years after jurors were unable to reach a verdict in the first trial.
Kilpatrick was the city’s youngest mayor when he was elected in 2002, the city’s first black mayor. He resigned from office in 2008 amid FBI investigations into corruption. His wife, Carlita, also was charged with corruption, but her trial was rescheduled for another day.