February 14, 2014 at 1:00 am

Ferguson acquitted on two weapons charges; mistrial declared on third

Jury deadlocks on third weapons count; mistrial declared

Bobby Ferguson in 2010 (Clarence Tabb, Jr. / The Detroit News)

Detroit— A jury acquitted Bobby Ferguson, a prominent local contractor and pal of ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, on two federal weapons charges and declared itself deadlocked on a third weapons charge.

U.S. District Court Judge David Lawson declared a mistrial late Friday afternoon after the jury rendered its verdicts on the two charges that Ferguson was in possession of firearms even though it was prohibited by law because he was a convicted felon.

Testimony began Tuesday. The jury deliberated over three days this week.

Commenting on the verdict U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said: “We thank the members of the jury for their work. We will evaluate our options and do what is in the best interest of justice.”

In opening statements Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow told jurors Ferguson thought “he was above the law” in owning guns.

Ferguson could not legally own firearms because of a 2007 felony conviction.

The trial was expected to last six weeks, but earlier this month Ferguson’s co-defendant and former colleague Michael Woodhouse pleaded guilty in a surprise move.

He is scheduled for sentencing May 14.

In January, prosecutors dropped many charges against Ferguson.

This is the second trial for Ferguson on the alleged weapons crimes. His first ended in a mistrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict.

Last fall, Ferguson was sentenced to 21 years in prison for his role in a City Hall corruption case. He will soon be assigned permanently to a federal prison.

Chutkow told jurors that Ferguson should not have been in possession of two-semi automatic pistols and a loaded Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun, found during raids at his business and at an apartment nearly five years ago.

At Ferguson Enterprises on the city’s west side, federal agents found personal documents along with cash. During the raid at Riverfront Towers, agents found Ferguson’s driver’s license, birth certificate, passport and $250,000 in receipts for cashier’s checks inside a cowboy boot.

Defense attorney David Steingold said prosecutors could not prove the weapons belonged to Ferguson because employees at Ferguson Enterprises had access to the safe and the apartment. Steingold said the apartment belonged to his cousin.