(CBS/AP) DETROIT - Jurors in Detroit federal court will start hearing evidence from an IRS agent today, the first government witness to testify in the public corruption trial against former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
According to the Detroit Free Press, agent Ron Sauer is expected to talk about a questionable contribution made to the Kilpatrick Civic Fund more than a decade ago that sparked an Internal Revenue Service investigation. This eventually triggered the massive government case against the ex-mayor; his father, Bernard Kilpatrick; best friend Bobby Ferguson; and ex-city water chief Victor Mercado.
The Kilpatricks are charged with conspiring with Ferguson and Mercado to fix city contracts so that Ferguson's construction company could get lucrative work.
Sauer is to be the first of about 200 government witnesses to appear before jurors in the case. The government's case includes wiretap evidence, bank records, text messages and cooperating witnesses, including many former associates or friends of Kilpatrick, among them at least 10 felons.
Kwame Kilpatrick is also charged with taking bribes, evading taxes and committing extortion while pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars. He quit the mayor's office in 2008 due to an unrelated scandal.