Kwame Kilpatrick asks appeals court again for new trial
It looks like former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has adopted the old adage “if at first you don’t succeed ...”
A little over a month after a panel of federal judges denied Kilpatrick’s request for a new trial and upheld his racketeering conviction and 28-year prison sentence, his attorney filed a petition to have the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ entire bench rehear his case.
Harold Gurewitz, Kilpatrick’s attorney filed the petition for rehearing “en banc” with the federal court in Cincinnati. En banc means Gurewitz is asking the case be heard before all of the court’s 23 judges.
Last month, a three-judge appeals panel ruled Kilpatrick failed to prove his trial lawyers had a conflict of interest or that they were ineffective.
However, Kilpatrick scored a minor victory. The panel — Judges Richard A. Griffin, Eugene Siler Jr. and Helene White — vacated the $4.5 million restitution Kilpatrick was ordered to pay to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, saying the figure was incorrectly calculated.
The restitution issue was sent back to U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds in Detroit.
Gurewitz makes two primary arguments in Friday’s petition: the trial court denied Kilpatrick his Sixth Amendment right to conflict-free counsel and the panel erred by ruling he was not prejudiced by federal agents’ testimony during his trial.
Kilpatrick’s trial attorneys, James Thomas and Michael Naughton, “become associated ... with the law firm concurrently suing Kilpatrick in a civil case for the same RICO allegations on which they were defending him in his criminal case,” Gurewitz wrote in the petition.
Gurewitz also argues the appeals panel should have reversed Kilpatrick’s conviction because the testimony of two federal agents about thousands of text messages, phone calls and documents in his trial conflicts with a previous ruling made by the same court that “lay opinion testimony must be based on a witnesses’ own first-hand perceptions instead of (his) historical knowledge of the entire case investigation.”
“Each error requires correction by en banc review,” Gurewitz wrote.
Kilpatrick was convicted of 24 charges, including racketeering conspiracy, in March 2013 for running a criminal operation out of city hall.
He was sentenced to one of the longest prison terms ever handed down in a corruption case.