• Slain Dancer’s Lawyer Can Depose Kwame Kilpatrick’s Wife, Father

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    Slain dancer’s lawyer can depose Kwame Kilpatrick’s wife, father

    Suit sparks debate over closed hearings

     

    Carlita Kilpatrick and Bernard Kilpatrick — the wife and father of ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick — must answer questions under oath in a lawsuit filed by lawyers for the family of slain exotic dancer Tamara Greene, a federal judge ruled Tuesday after a closed two-hour hearing.

    Jerry Oliver, former police chief during Kilpatrick’s administration, also can be deposed, the judge said.

    The ruling by Chief U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen was a breakthrough for attorneys Norman Yatooma and Robert Zawideh, who represent Greene’s family in a lawsuit against the ex-mayor and others in his administration, claiming they thwarted an investigation into Greene’s 2003 unsolved killing.

    According to a never-proven rumor — investigated by Detroit police and Michigan State Police — Greene, who went by the stage name Strawberry, danced at the mayoral Manoogian Mansion for Kilpatrick and others in fall 2002 and supposedly was assaulted by the mayor’s wife, who walked in on the party.

    Yatooma can now travel to Texas to depose the Kilpatricks.

    “This is a necessary step to be able to resolve this mystery,” Yatooma said after his ruling in his favor.

    But whether that deposition will ever be made public also remains a mystery.

    Rosen has kept much of the proceedings private and much of the court filings sealed over the past six months, explaining in court Tuesday that he is concerned about “this case spiraling out of control to adversely impact the ongoing homicide investigation.”

    Rosen said he also is worried about privacy rights of people who are not parties to the case, but whose names are being raised as the litigation continues.

    On Tuesday, Rosen barred the news media from sitting in on arguments in the lawsuit by Greene’s family, which claims city officials stymied an investigation into her drive-by killing.

    Before the hearing, Free Press lawyer Herschel Fink sent a letter to Rosen raising concerns about the fact that the judge has sealed records and conducted closed-door proceedings. Rosen responded in court that he would treat the letter as a motion and would take it under consideration.

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