DETROIT (AP) — A businessman who claims he was extorted by then-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to protect his contracts at a Detroit convention center testified Tuesday that he told FBI agents just days before trial that he may have dementia.
The disclosure by Karl Kado, 72, occurred near the end of four hours of vigorous cross-examination by attorneys for Kilpatrick and his father, Bernard. Kado testified Monday that he gave $200,000 to $300,000 to the elder Kilpatrick and thousands more to his son.
The Kilpatricks and a third man are accused of extortion, bribery and other crimes in a long-running corruption scheme that goes back more than a decade.
Defense lawyer James Thomas put Kado through a series of yes-or-no questions as he read from an FBI summary of an interview with Kado in September, 10 days before the trial’s opening statements.
Kado acknowledged telling the FBI he sometimes forgets the day of the week and where he’s going and that he believes he may have dementia. There has been no diagnosis, however.
He told jurors that his memory “is much worse than 11 years ago,” when the government says Kado began a corrupt relationship with the Kilpatricks.
Moments later, Thomas asked Kado if he remembered what Kwame Kilpatrick was wearing when he gave him $10,000 in 2002. He couldn’t.
Kado nonetheless was able to clearly recall many events while in the witness chair, although he appeared to change his story about cash payments to the then-mayor. He said Kilpatrick never asked for a specific amount of money, testimony that contradicted his version Monday.
“I know how much and I know when,” Kado testified Tuesday.
Kado, whose cooperation in the investigation was important for the government, was asked by Thomas if he was working for prosecutors.
“I think I’m working for the truth,” he replied.
Kado has told jurors that he gave cash to the Kilpatricks because he feared he would lose work at Cobo Center, a downtown convention hall, if he didn’t meet their wishes. Cobo no longer is controlled by the city and instead is run by a five-member regional authority.
Much of the day’s cross-examination was handled by John Shea, attorney for Bernard Kilpatrick. He repeatedly tried to emphasize in front of jurors that Kado had legitimately sought the elder Kilpatrick’s help in getting Detroit to pay overdue bills owed to him.
Shea tried to dent the government’s argument that cash changed hands for corrupt reasons, even playing the FBI’s own secretly recorded phone calls where Kado asks for Bernard Kilpatrick’s assistance.
“I thought you told me to leave it alone,” Bernard Kilpatrick said in one call, referring to money owed to Kado by the city.
Kwame Kilpatrick, a Democrat whose mother is former U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, was elected mayor in 2001. He resigned in 2008 and pleaded guilty to obstructing justice by lying in a civil case about having sex with an aide. He subsequently served 14 months in prison for violating his probation in that case.