February 27, 2008 at 3:52 pm

Excerpts: Deposition of Mike Stefani, Detroit police officers' attorney

Here are excerpts from the deposition of Mike Stefani, attorney for three Detroit police officers who filed whistle-blower lawsuits against the city of Detroit:

  • Stefani on why he filed a subpoena for the text-messages after the Sept. 11 jury verdict:

    "No question in my mind that the mayor lied through his teeth, and so did Beatty."

  • Stefani on the publication of text messages:

    "This whole thing could have been avoided if Christine Beatty had taken my phone call before there was any lawsuit, just talked to me about the mistake they made with Gary Brown. She said, 'No. It's a one-day news story.' "

  • Stefani on confusion over whether the text messages were available during the trial:

    "I put Beatty on the stand. I asked her some very specific questions about text messages: Did she ever send a romantic message to the mayor? Did she ever send a sexually-explicit message to the mayor? Did she ever discuss Gary Brown in a text message? Did she ever discuss the release of Nelthrope's name? Her answers were no to everything. So then I went to the judge and I said, 'Would you look at the records? And if there's anything in those text messages that's contradictory, I want to introduce it.' He said, 'I don't have the text messages.' And I said, 'Sure you do.' And he said, 'No, you've got them.' I said, 'No, I don't. You've got them.' And it turned out nobody had them."

  • Stefani on the city's claim that the text messages were the mayor and Beatty's personal property:

    "(Kilpatrick attorney Sam) McCargo took the position, not during facilitation, but in other conversations, that these text messages were the personal property of the mayor and Ms. Beatty, and they should be returned. And the city was going to tell SkyTel that -- or, McCargo, somebody was going to tell SkyTel that this was personal property, and they had no right to have those records."

  • Stefani on the contents of an envelope handed to McCargo during a stalemate in the facilitation process over attorney fees. The envelope contained excerpts of the text messages and a proposed motion that argued for additional attorney fees because Kilpatrick and Beatty lied under oath:

    "Forty-five minutes after the facilitator handed McCargo the document, there was a knock on our door. We were in separate rooms. And the facilitator said, "McCargo wants to talk to you." And I got outside -- he was actually outside of the building. So I left the building and walked out in the parking lot. And McCargo looked ashen or shook up. And he looked at me, and he said, "I had no idea."

  • Stefani on his reaction to McCargo saying "I had no idea":

    "I don't know whether he was saying I had no idea you got these text messages, or he meant I had no idea my clients were lying about their relationship. I didn't discuss that with him. He just said, "I had no idea." And then he -- he sheepishly, a few seconds later said, "Have you filed this?" And that's when I said, "No."

    Stefani said McCargo called the mayor:

    "And, you know, another fifteen minutes went by. And the facilitator came back into the room and said, "He got a hold of the mayor at the airport, and the mayor has approved negotiating for a global resolution."

  • The mayor's general counsel Sharon McPhail, asked Stefani about rumors that Kilpatrick gave Beatty $12,000 --for a down payment on a home:

    "My confidential source told me that Beatty told him -- Beatty told the mortgage broker -- or, the banker for Fifth/Third Bank, that she would get the twelve thousand dollars from the mayor. And the guy said to her, "But it's got to be a gift. You can't borrow a down payment." And she said, "It will be a gift." And he said, "Well, no one will believe it's a gift from the mayor. They'll think it's a loan."

  • Stefani responding why he asked for text messages from Beatty's pager sent or received during specific time periods in 2002 and 2003.

    "The reason I chose those two months, is because Walt Harris had testified he saw -- he accompanied the mayor out of town in September, I believe. And the mayor tried -- the mayor didn't allow Walt to make his usual security check of the hotel room. And when the mayor opened the door, he saw Christine Beatty sitting on the bed, totally -- as I understand it, totally clothed. And I wanted to see if there were text messages about that. Also the Manoogian Mansion party was supposed to have taken place in September. And I wanted to see if there were text messages about that… And sure enough, the text messages confirmed that the mayor and Beatty had made up their mind not only to fire Brown, but to fire his -- his inspectors and commander…"