Defense attorney James C. Thomas also said he will start trying to mitigate the amount of time Kilpatrick will spend in federal prison after being convicted of 24 charges.
He has other short-term plans following the six-month trial and representing Kilpatrick for almost three years in the corruption case.
“One might think you go out and get loaded,” Thomas told reporters outside federal court. “I am going to take solace in having a good dinner.”
Thomas did not know where Kilpatrick will be imprisoned immediately. He hopes the former Detroit mayor will be housed at the federal prison in nearby Milan.
“It’s obviously one of the more comfortable places, though it’s not a country club,” Thomas said.
His initial reaction to the conviction?
“Numbing may be a good word,” he said. “We are pensive.”
He shed light on Kilpatrick’s private moments after being convicted of 24 counts Monday morning.
“He talked with his wife and kids,” Thomas said. “He’s pretty strong and doesn’t show his emotions, but it obviously is affecting him.”
Thomas laid the groundwork for an appeal during the six-month City Hall corruption trial.
Meanwhile, federal prosecutors announced they would continue their prosecution of contractor Bobby Ferguson, months after a jury failed to reach a verdict in his separate bid-rigging trial. A trial is set for May in federal court.
Meanwhile, Kilpatrick could challenge his conviction based on several pretrial rulings regarding jury makeup, pretrial publicity and a judge’s refusal to let the former Detroit mayor fire his attorney on the eve of trial.
He lost an appeal in late August of U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds’ order denying him access to jury records in hopes of dismissing the City Hall corruption indictment because there weren’t enough blacks in the jury pool.
A three-judge panel ruled Kilpatrick’s appeal was premature but could be reviewed if the former Detroit mayor was convicted, which came Monday on 24 charges, and sentenced to prison.
He set up another possible appeal in August by trying, at the 11th hour, to fire his taxpayer-funded lawyer, Thomas.
Kilpatrick claimed their relationship was broken because he didn’t trust the attorney and they had shouting matches.
Thomas wasn’t the right fit for the corruption case, Kilpatrick insisted.
“When my mother cuts the Thanksgiving turkey, she doesn’t open the drawer, close her eyes and pick a knife,” Kilpatrick told the judge. “You got to get a turkey knife for a turkey.”
Prosecutors said Kilpatrick’s attempt to fire Thomas was a stall tactic that lacked credibility. Legal experts at the time agreed.
“To make this complaint on the eve of trial doesn’t completely pass the smell test,” said Alan Gershel, a professor at Thomas Cooley Law School and former head of criminal prosecutions in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit.
Kilpatrick also set up a potential appeal during the jury-selection process.
Prosecutors used five of their 14 peremptory challenges to remove potential black jurors while the defense used all 28 of their challenges to remove white jurors.
The defense team’s fight against losing black jurors could factor into an appeal upon conviction.
“If the appellate court finds it was based on race or sex, it results in an automatic reversal of conviction on appeal,” said Peter Henning, a former federal prosecutor who is a law professor at Wayne State University.
In the end, eight African-Americans were included — five as jurors and three as alternates.
Kilpatrick also tried, unsuccessfully, to move the trial out of Michigan, arguing he couldn’t get a fair trial in Detroit due to media coverage.
The request was a strategic long shot, experts said.
“You have to raise the issue in order to appeal it if there’s a conviction,” said Henning, a former federal prosecutor. “If you don’t raise it, you lose it.”
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