Bobby Ferguson is in prison in Milan awaiting sentencing in the City Hall corruption case. (Robin Buckson / The Detroit News)
Detroit — Bobby Ferguson's legal problems got worse Friday.
On the day his lawyer quit, a new indictment was unsealed in federal court against Kwame Kilpatrick's close friend and prison mate, who faces 20 years or longer in prison after being found guilty last week of racketeering and eight other charges in the City Hall corruption case.
The revised indictment — filed under seal in the middle of the City Hall corruption trial — adds a new firearm charge against Ferguson and drops a financial count against one of the contractor's companies.
The indictment was unsealed minutes after Ferguson got dumped by his criminal defense lawyer, a move that could delay the start of a bid-rigging retrial in May.
Without public explanation, lawyer Gerald Evelyn notified a federal court judge Friday he is withdrawing from the case.
Evelyn could not be reached for comment Friday.
The move, which must be approved by U.S. District Judge David Lawson, would mark a high-profile split between a veteran criminal defense attorney and his longtime client.
Evelyn suffered an undisclosed medical condition last fall, which prompted a two-week delay in the corruption trial. By quitting, he would avoid going through a third trial with Ferguson in less than a year.
Last week, Evelyn said Ferguson might not be able to afford paying lawyers after bankrolling legal teams in the corruption and original bid-rigging trial. The government also has seized Ferguson's homes and about $4 million.
Evelyn defended Ferguson in the original bid-rigging case, which ended in a mistrial last summer.
In the bid-rigging case, Ferguson is accused of falsifying bids, laundering money and dumping debris on the grounds of the old Herman Gardens public housing site on the city's west side.
In one of his final acts as Ferguson's lawyer, Evelyn on Friday asked to have the contractor released from federal prison on bond pending sentencing in the City Hall corruption case.
Ferguson's lawyer said his client is not a danger to the community or a flight risk, particularly since the FBI seized his passport in September 2010.
Several relatives and a friend have offered five homes as collateral, Evelyn wrote.
Ferguson's mom offered her Detroit home and one in Alabama.
"The pledges of these five homes as surety, tip the scales in favor of Mr. Ferguson being released on bond pending sentencing," Evelyn wrote.
"Quite simply, were Mr. Ferguson to flee, his family members and friend would suffer dire consequences by losing their homes."
Prosecutors have rejected the request, according to the filing in federal court. U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds will have the final say on whether he is released pending sentencing.
Also Friday, prosecutors fought a similar request from Kilpatrick, who is in a federal prison in Milan with Ferguson while awaiting sentencing in the corruption case.
Kilpatrick was found guilty of 24 charges, including racketeering.
Judge Edmunds said Friday she plans to disclose the amount taxpayers spent on a stable of court-appointed lawyers for Kilpatrick, his father, Bernard, and ex-Detroit Water boss Victor Mercado.
Experts have said the price tag could top $1 million.
Edmunds will give defense lawyers a chance to object before releasing the figures after the trio is sentenced in federal court.