Watch CBS News

"Be A Man!" Reporter, Attorney Clash Outside Federal Court

DETROIT (WWJ) - The defense has finished giving closing arguments in the Kwame Kilpatrick and co-defendants corruption trial.

During the emotionally charged final statement, Bobby Ferguson's Attorney Gerald Evelyn said Ferguson "earned every dime" he received through excavation and demolition work. He argued that Kwame Kilpatrick did not have enough power to force large successful companies to take Ferguson on as a subcontractor.

Evelyn got choked up as he quoted Martin Luther King.

But when co-counsel Mike Rataj was questioned about that by a reporter outside the courthouse -- asked whether he thought the prosecution was racist -- things got heated.

Clash Outside Federal Court

"Did I say anything like that? Are you ignorant? Are you ignorant? You're an ignorant moron," said Rataj.

"That's why I asked the question. That's why I asked the question," Fox 2 reporter M.L. Elrick interjected. "Mike, just answer ... be a man. Quit being such a lunatic and be a man!"

Witnesses outside Detroit Federal Court said that's when Rataj proceeded to shove Elrick -- and it almost came to blows.

Responded Rataj, "You challenge me to be a man? You're a punk. I asked you to meet me one time ... Let me tell you something -- you wanna go right now, OK? You wanna go right now, Elrick?"

"Take the first shot then if you want it, counselor," Elrick said.

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Bernard Kilpatrick, and Ferguson each face up to 20 years in prison if convicted on racketeering, bribery and tax charges.

Prosecutors are expected to make their closing remarks on Friday.

MORE: Lawyer: Kwame Kilpatrick's Dad Did Legitimate Work

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.