The Kwame Kilpatrick federal corruption trial is staying in Detroit. The judge ruled Thursday the defense can get a fair trial without a change of venue.
Kilpatrick's lawyers were hoping the soundtrack to the former mayor's trial would be Memphis blues or even Kentucky bluegrass, but instead they're going to have to settle for Motown.
Attorney Jim Thomas wanted to take the show on the road. He said Kilpatrick couldn't get a fair trial in Detroit. He blamed the media, citing a recent Detroit Free Press article about possible juror misconduct in another case. He argued in court Thursday that story could rattle jurors in this case.
Thomas wrote in a court filing, "This subtle yet direct intimidation of jurors leaves this court with no option but to move this case to another jurisdiction."
Judge Nancy Edmonds rejected his logic, then denied his motion.
Attorney Mike Rataj wasn't dancing in the street, but he didn't seem devastated, either.
"We filed the papers. She ruled. We respect her decision, and now we move on and we got to start trying this case."
Defense attorney John Minock said he is confident local jurors are capable of doing their sworn duty.
"We've vetted them pretty carefully. We had the questionnaires. We had extensive voir dire, and I think the jurors were selected for their ability to be fair."
Nearly two years after charges were first filed against Kilpatrick and after nine long days of jury selection, the one thing all parties may agree on is that it's time to start hearing the evidence.
Friday we start with opening statements. The prosecution will go first. Even though this is a vast allegation they're making against the former mayor and some other gentlemen, we're told they will only take about an hour to make those arguments. Then the defense goes and it's four months and counting.
We're expecting witnesses to start taking the stand on Monday. On Friday, we may hear some wiretap conversations and see some text messages, but the real meat of this trial is going to start on Monday.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13 485 S. Highland St. Memphis, TN 38111
Main Station: (901) 320-1313 Newsroom: (901) 320-1340