DETROIT – Three lawyers are refusing to testify next week at a removal hearing for Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, possibly harming his ability to defend himself.
Kilpatrick's attorney, Sharon McPhail, in a letter dated Wednesday, urged Gov. Jennifer Granholm to seek subpoena power, delay the hearing or press the witnesses to appear.
Granholm will hold a hearing next Wednesday that could lead to Kilpatrick's removal from office.
McPhail said she received a letter stating that lawyers Sam McCargo and Wilson Copeland are refusing to appear. A third attorney, John Johnson, also does not plan to appear.
She said their failure to appear will be a "serious if not fatal blow" to the mayor's defense.
The Detroit City Council says the mayor misled it into approving an $8.4 million settlement with fired police officers. McCargo and Copeland had roles in that case; Johnson is a city attorney.
But Kilpatrick's lawyer woes don't end there.
On Wednesday, a former lawyer for Kilpatrick filed a lawsuit against the mayor claiming he's owed about $80,000 in fees stemming from his work after Kilpatrick's text-message scandal surfaced.
William Moffitt of Alexandria, Va., was hired by Kilpatrick in February and replaced before Kilpatrick was charged with perjury in March. Moffitt contends in the lawsuit that Kilpatrick has continually refused to pay the bill.
Mayoral spokesman Marcus Reese told the Detroit Free Press it's unfortunate Moffitt decided to air an administrative issue in public, and his office will respond accordingly.
Kilpatrick faces 10 felony counts in separate perjury and assault cases in Wayne County Circuit Court.
In the first case, the 38-year-old Kilpatrick and ex-top aide Christine Beatty are charged with perjury, conspiracy, misconduct and obstruction of justice. They are accused of lying during the 2007 whistle-blowers' trial about having an extramarital tryst and their roles in the firing of a deputy police chief.
Text messages from Beatty's city-issued pager contradicted their testimony, leading Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to file charges against the two in March.
The other charges stem from allegations that the mayor shoved one prosecutor's investigator into another in July as they were attempting to serve a subpoena in the perjury case to a Kilpatrick friend.
The criminal charges and Kilpatrick's embarrassing one-night jail stay earlier this month for violating bond conditions have all but wiped out his past successes in bringing some clout to Detroit.