Live Blog: Kwame Kilpatrick Trial Day 8 - Fox 2 News Headlines

Live Blog: Kwame Kilpatrick Trial Day 8



Done for the Day, court is adjourned.  Emma Bell gave strong testimony today.  Sometimes emotional, sometimes forcefully, and  she ended strong today when Jim Thomas took off the gloves.

I'll be back tomorrow morning but make sure you tune in to Fox 2 tonight at 5 and 6 for a full report from M.L. Elrick, and check our his daily Take-Away on

Talk to you in the morning.


Bell now telling Bullotta that she lied because she didn't want to make Kwame look petty. 

Then Thomas comes up and asks Greedy or petty? you said petty?  Bell says greedy or petty it doesn't make a difference.

Thomas say yes it does. askers her again.  BEll asks why are you treating me like that.  Finally the judge says Thomas is being argumentative.


Thomas says you lied to federal prosecutors the first time you met with agents.  Bell says that right.

Thomas says you committed a federal crime and they didn't to ___ to you.  (I'm not censoring anything there, the mic popped and I couldn't  here what he said.)


THomas says you're telling the jury that you're telling the truth?  Bell says right.


Bell testified that Thomas's question was unfair because it was hard for her to come to court, hard for her to tell the truth, hard to meet with the agents and see her life spread out in front of her.

Thomas is now grilling her about the number of times she went to see Kilpatrick.  You went there 18 times to give him cash?  Bell does raise her voice now," YES, sir."


Bullotta redirects.  BElls says "there's only two people in this room who know the truth! Me and Mr. Kilpatrick.  Bell insists she's telling the truth.  She has showed made some spirited replies since she took the stand but this is the first time she has come close to raising her voice.


Bell said she understood that she was going to jail and Thomas said, "prison!"  Much more serious. Thomas asks if she knows that if she pleases the prospectors she could get probation.  Thomas asks if it's a fair statement.  Bell says it's an unfair statement.


Thomas asks if she knew she could go to jail for a long time and she says yes.

Thomas asks did you see on paper that you were going to be sentenced to 18 months. "yes, sir."

"and I understand that very clearly sir."


Thomas now asking again about how many times she met with prosecutors.  Bell says she doesn't remember the exact number.  SAys she really doesn't now how many times.

Bell says they would never tell her went to say.  He showed me a chart, that was my life in front of me sir."


Thomas is now asking her about Kwame's 36th Birthday. Bell can't remember his exact birth date but says it's a little before her sons.

Thomas asks if she remembers Don Barden taking the microphone and asking people to come up and give money, "to celebrate this young man."

Bell says she heard Barden say he put $5,000 in the box but"he was good at making promises."  "sometimes he wouldn't do things he'd say he'd do."


Bell says her gross wagers were $803,000 he year she lost her employment with Kilpatrick and she lost $80,000 and she lost more money than she brought in.  Thomas says you had money left in the can under her bed.  Bell says she hasn't had a cashier's check since.... Thomas cuts her off.


Thomas is now asking her about 2006 when her gambling increased.


Thomas wants to know if she'd be more likely to go to the casino if she had money under the can under her bed.  she says now a gambler gambles.

She eventually does agree that she worries about  how much money she has and it affects how often she goes to the casino.


Thomas is now asking about her winnings and losses.  Bell agrees that she lost $15,000


BEll says she disagrees that she put $100,000 in play.  She says an expert would have to explain to him that the money rolls over.

Thomas keeps talking about "gross wagers."  The point of contention here is that the Thomas says it's $170,000 and bell says she didn't bet 170,000.

The judge is interjecting again,  the judge is telling Thomas that he should explain to the witness that he's not talking about betting a total of 17,000.

Thomas says he'd like to just do it his way and let Bullotta make his point in redirect.


Thomas asks about her gambling again. Did she continue to gamble after finishing her work for Kilpatrick.  Bell says she had income from another consulting job, zoning board, and Social Security.


Thomas wants to know, in 2005, if it was harder to raise money.  Bell says yes, Kwame was behind in the polls.  Thomas asks if Bell's ability to raise money rises and falls on Kwame's reputation. "yes, sir."

Thomas asks if Bell was proud Kwame surprised everybody and won the election?  Bell says she was proud he won and proud of him.


Bell says she didn't pull her shirt up or anything, she'd never do that even in front of her own son.  She demonstrated that she just slipped it out of the top of her shirt.


The list shows the total amount of money the government says Bell gave Kilpatrick.  It's for the years 2003 through 2008.

Thomas asks if Bell is telling the jury that she took money out of her bra to give him cash?  Bell says "I'd take money out of my bra to give my son, Sir."


Thomas is asking for the banking documents again. He's looking at a summary of the money put into the account. He's asking if Bell remembers putting this chart together with Agent Sauer.


We're waiting the jury to be seated.  Bell is on the stand again and Thomas is getting ready to ask her more questions.


Court is back in session.


Thomas asks her if she wasn't having a life altering event when the agents showed her the bank documents.

Thomas says you didn't pay the government you went to the casino.

You had a gambling problem.  Bell pauses, "Yes, sir."

and after that emotional testimony the judge calls for a break.


Bell says "all her life was in front of her" and "it was a sad day" when agent Sauer showed her the baking statements listing the cashiers checks.

Thomas asks if there's any trail of money going to Mr. Kilpatrick?  "Sir, it wouldn't be."

Thomas isn't it just your testimony that says Kilpatrick got the money.  Bell says "Yes Sir that's true, and it is true."


Thomas asks if agent Sauer told her that the 10 grand reporting requirement covered the whole year.  She doesn't remember Sauer telling him that.

Now Thomas is reading off the dates BEll met with agents. Bell agrees it was ten times.


Thomas asks if she worked for Congressional Democrats when she was hiding the money.  Bell didn't recognize the name but they got that cleared up and she say yes.

Thomas is being much kinder in his questioning of Bell than he has been with any other witness.  It seems to me he's getting much better testimony for his clients out of her as well.


Thomas asks if she used cashiers checks before working for Kilpatrick she says no but she did know about the $10,000 limit. Thomas asks if she had a relationship with her bank that allowed her to do that and she says yes.


Thomas says Kilpatrick never told you a specific amount (referring to the money she was going to give him from that first $100,000 pay out).   Bell agrees Kwame didn't give her a dollar figure.


Thomas asks if she expected to get $100,000 from a fundraiser for an event that raised more than a million dollars.

Bells says she doesn't remember who she negotiated her salary with but it would have been Beatty or Phillips.

Bell says she didn't negotiate with Kwame.


Thomas: William Phillips you did not get along with?  Bell says, "you're probably right."

You didn't have much interaction with PHillips?  Bell says she dealt mostly with his assistant Nicole Sodko.


Thomas asks if she considered Kwame a busy man. "yes, sir."

Did people rely on him to make decisions? "yes, sir."

He didn't invoice himself in fundraising? "Yes sir."

he had Beatty handle that? "yes, sir."


Thomas asks if Buress was told about errands to City Hall, details about what Bell was doing.  BEll says no.


Thomas is now asking her about the offices they used and why the office was separate from the Mayor's office.  Bell says it was illegal to raise money out of the City County Building. (I still call it that too so Bell can't be too old.)


Thomas asks if she remembers if there was any advertising being done, bells says no.

Thomas asking if she knows the difference between candidate ad and issue ads.  Bell says she doesn't know.


Bell remembers it was a small room on the first floor because it wasn't that big a party.

Thomas asks if Bell was there were when speeches were made.  Bell says the chairperson was there to tell people know what the fund was doing.  The chair that year was Philips.


Thomas is asking her about an invitation to a fundraiser.  Bell says it was for an event at greektown  Athenaeum hotel to raise money for the civic fund.  Bell can't remember how many people were there.


Bell says it was normally MS. Beatty who told her how much money was raised at the events.


Bells says there are some times when she would have to call a person who promised a donation and remind them to send the money.


Thomas is asking about the fax introduced earlier, there's handwriting on it the Bell doesn't recognize, including an dollar figure of $19,000 that she doesn't recognize.


Thomas asking about money that went to Buress.  Bell says Buress was her secretary and friend and the money paid was money Buress earned working at the fund raisers.


Thomas asks her to explain why Kwame didn't take the money personally, the money was given to the fund raising committee.  Thomas says he's not going to make promises to donors.  Bell Kwame played it by the book


Thomas asks if Kilpatrick came to the fundraising events. "yes sir."

Bell says an elected official doesn't go out and meet with each person that gave them a check

Bell says kwame did go to events and meet donors.


Thomas asked her what she did with her "Retirement money"  and Bell said it wasn't retirement money, she just wanted to be clear, you work for the county all those years and you don't get a retirement.


Thomas is asking her about her tax liens and did she convert her money back then into cashiers checks and hide cash in her mattress.  she says no.


Thomas says she didn't make 100 grand when she worked for the county, "thy do that now but not back then.  She got another laugh from the court.  Bell is a great witness, she earnest and sincere, and has a warm strong personality.


Bells says most of her income came from her fundraising activities  from 2003-2008 but that she had money saved from when she worked for Wayne County, a severance check.


Bell is now schooling Thomas in local Politics, she had to explain that Bill Lucas was a democrat back in the day then switched parties.  Thomas told her he learned something that he didn't know.

Bell has her political history down.  She can recite names and the years people ran.

Thomas asked her if she had trouble getting work as a political consultant back then and she said, "not as much trouble as I'm having now."


Bells says she also helped Judges get elected.  Says some people who were her friends and she worked for free.  Says one judge is on the Supreme court who was a friend but paid her.

Bell agrees with Thomas that getting paid for political work is proper.


Thomas wants to know if she got into politics in New  York, "Yes, Sir."

Thomas asks if she met political contacts at church, "yes, Sir."

Bell says she worked to get Mr. Lucas elected.  Says she worked for other politicians and took voters to the polls, and helped raise money.


Bells say she met Thomas years before but never talked about the court case.  Thomas was a little surprised and obviously didn't remember meeting Bell outside the court room.


BEll says she never walked into a casino with $170,000 and somebody might want to make it sound like that or try to tell the jury that, "but it isn't true.

She says it's called recycling. 

SAys you take in $10,000 you're going to put it in a machine.  Says she's a gambler so she never took in big amounts of cash.


Bullotta asks her if she did a lot of gambling, she says, "I played the slots, Sir."

Bell says she usually took between $500 and $1500 when she went to the casino.

"In the Casino you think every machine is lucky."  Bell says she played all the slots, sometimes penny, sometimes dollar.

Says she's from the older days when the slots didn't blink, but now they blink.  Says if she one she'd put the payout back in.  Says she kept playing and tried to  get her money back.


Bullotta is now showing her the plea agreement and asking Bell if she understands that she's looking at 18-24 months in prison.  "yes, sir."  If she cooperates she get only 18 months.  Bell says she understand only Judge Edmunds has the final say on her sentence.


Bell says she knew Bobby Ferguson and that's he's always been nice to her.  Says she got cash from FErguson.  "It was not anybody's money but Bobby's."  She says "I think, Sir, It was a check."

Says Bobby would give her money just to say here.  she says Bobby also called her Mom even though he had a mother.


BEll says most people in city and county government knew about Bell's tax problem's.  She says no one from Kilpatrick's office gave her a 1099.  That's the form used when a business doesn't take taxes out of paycheck that the taxpayer must submit to the IRS when they pay their taxes. 


WE're wafting for the jury to file in.  Bullotta is getting ready to ask more questions.


court is back in session and Bell is taking the stand.


Just talked to my colleague M.L. Elrick.  He says as Emma Bell was walking out of the court room during the break Kwame Kilpatrick's attorney, Jim Thomas walked up to her and took her hand, said something brief, and she smiled sadly and said thank you. M.L. says it sounded like Thomas was reassuring her, saying he wouldn't be too hard on her.

M.L. has a great vantage point in the court room where he can see both the witness and the jury.  He'll have a full report at 5 and 6 tonight and be sure to check out his "Take Away" article on


I just ran upstairs to the 8th floor during the break and Kwame Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson are huddling in the hallway with their attorney's.  Emma Bell was heading down to toward the restrooms looking a little wrung out.  She had her head up, her expression was a mix of concern and regret.  She did not look a Kwame as she walked by.


Bullotta asks why she took money and she says she was owed money by the fund.  She doesn't know why, she just took it.

Court is taking a 20 minute break.


Bell says she doesn't know the exact figure but she gave Kilpatrick more the $200,000. 

Bell says she would get a call from Beatty when it was time to pick up a check from a Fund.


Bell says the packages she gave Kilpatrick could be regular envelopes or special bank envelopes and she'd give it to him and he'd put it in his pants pocket.  her voice is starting to crack a little.  I can't see her face right  now because the front camera is showing exhibits but it sounds like Bell is uncomfortable.


Bullotta is now showing pictures of the Mayor's office, she's identifying peoples desks, and describing the barber chair room off to the side of the office.  She says there was a Barber Chair there.


Bell says she delivered the money to Kilpatrick's office or house and would call ahead and ask if she could come over for a minute.  Buress drove her and would sit outside in the car.

Bell says she kept the cash in her purse or pocket, mostly hundreds, sometimes 50's.

Earlier Bell said she after getting cash from the bank she stored it in her mattress until she could deliver it.


Bullotta asks if she provided money to Kilpatrick and she replies, "yes sir."

She explains that when she got a check from the fund she got a cashiers made out to her, and she'd go back to the bank repeatedly to get $10,000 at a time to avoid having to reporting it.

Bell says she couldn't give Kilpatrick $40,000 all at once because she could only get 10 at a time.


Bell is visibly distraught, her answers are coming haltingly.  She testifying that she didn't put money in her account because she had a "serious IRS program."

She says she worked for another non-profit during the Jimmy Carter era that didn't take taxes out of her pay and she has not caught up from that even now.

Asked how much she owes she replied "I think it's about 3."  Bullotta says, "3 dollars?"  Bell says "if it was 3 dollars I could pay it today."  They both chuckle.  She owes $300,000


Bell says she thanked Kilpatrick for the check.  Bullotta is asking if he said anything's taking a long time to answer...Bell says it's not easy for her to even be here and it's just not easy to answer, based on her relationship with his family.

Bells says Kilpatrick told her she was welcome, he'd see her later, and he expected her to "have something for him."  Bell says he meant money.


Bullotta is now showing bank records and he's asking Bell about a $100,000 check payable to Bell.

She doesn't remember if it was for a specific fundraiser but it was the first time she was paid for her fundraising work.  She says she got from either Kwame or Christine Beatty.


Bell says an attorney named William Phillips provided her with the information describing the Civic Fund.  Bell says Nicole Sodko was Phillips Para-legal.

Bell says she got checks the night of the events or through the mail and that she'd Xerox them and take the copies to Sodko.  Bell said Sodko would come downstairs.  The office was in the REn Cen.  bell says she doesn't drive, Angela Buress shuttled her around.


Bell is reading from the Civic Fund paperwork, it says the fund was set up for the betterment of Detroit residents, to educate voters. is active in improvement in the lives of the residents of Detroit and that none of the money would go to the political campaign


Bell says she kept most of the information in her head.  She could remember who came to events and gave checks but someone else actually kept the records.

She says Chris Jackson was the chair of the committee that year.  She says Jackson was picked because he was a young business man that people would recognize.


Bullotta is now asking about a thank you letter to Jeff Beasley City of Detroit Treasurer sent by Bell.

Bell says she got information about potential donors from former city treasurer Beasley.


Bullotta introducing an exhibit, an example of an e-vite.  Bell is looking at the front page, a fax cover sheet showing it was sent from her office.  She's now describing a letter that describes what the Civic Fund was about.


Bell says she organized fundraiser's for the funds.  She says the Civic Fund is where Corporations give corporate checks.  She says she sent out e-vites.  Email invitations.  She worked out of her home and an office near the post office.


Bell says initially she wasn't paid by the Civic Fund but was put on the payroll later.


Bell is testifying that the Kilpatrick Civic Fund did things with the West side Cubs football team and different stuff in communities, and get out the vote.


Bell says she went to work for the Kilpatrick for Mayor fund in 2003.  She's now listing all funds she worked for, including the last one, the Kilpatrick defense fund.


Bell says she met the Kilpatrick family at the Shrine of the Black Madonna church.  She says they had a good relationship, going to political events together, they call it the "struggle."

Bell says Kwame is not much older than her son.


Bell is now telling the court about her background.  She grew up in Georgia, moved to Detroit in 1972, and worked for County Ex. William Lucas.  She also worked as a consultant for the WAyne Co. Commission.


The Judge says Alternate number 5 has been excused.  The judge is now telling the jury that statements and arguments by attorneys are not evidence.  She's telling the jury that they have to listen to the witness says and just because the attorney said it does not make it true.


The picture is up and we can see the lawyers huddled around the Judge's bench.  They're taking their seats now and the Judge is calling for the jury to be brought in.


I just found out that the delay is because the Judge is having a meeting with the Attorneys. It's not unusual for the Judge and the lawyers to work out a plan for the day and get exhibits in order, but Judge Edmunds has usually taken the Bench right around 9am.  We'll have to wait and see if there's something unusual going on or if it's just business as usual that's taking longer than usual.


Still waiting for a picture from the court room.  I hope the Judge didn't forget to hit the switch. 


We're still waiting for a picture from the court room.


The Feds charged Bell with tax evasion, 2 counts, that could have put her in prison for 5 years.  But she cut a deal.  She has promised to pay back the more the $300,000 she owes in back taxes and the Government has agreed to reduce her prison sentence to "no more than 18  months."


BEll raised money for the Kilpatrick Civic Fund and the Kilpatrick Inaugural Committee. According to Bell's Plea agreement with the Government she was paid a percentage of the funds she raised "as determined by Kwame Kilpatrick."

8:50 am

Good Morning from the Theodore Levin Federal Court House in downtown Detroit.  We're anticipating a busy day with Testimony from Kwame Kilpatrick's chief fundraiser Emma Bell.


Ken Martinek is Senior Producer-Investigations for WJBK-TV Fox 2 News Detroit.  He will be writing live updates from the courthouse through the duration of the Kilpatrick corruption trial.

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