Jury begins deliberations in Bobby Ferguson's bid-rigging trial - FOX 35 News Orlando

Jury begins deliberations in Bobby Ferguson's bid-rigging trial

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Bobby Ferguson Bobby Ferguson
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Through the years, Bobby Ferguson has made a lot of money on city contracts, and for the past month, federal prosecutors went to work to try and convince a jury that Ferguson and two co-defendants were involved in a bid-rigging scheme to cash in on millions of dollars worth of work.

The Garden View Estates is the project at the heart of the case, a picturesque community for low income families still in the process of being built.  Federal prosecutes claim Ferguson along with Michael Woodhouse and Calvin Hall worked together to pull off a bid-rigging scheme to win a nearly $12-million contract to do work on the project.  Excel Construction was awarded much of the work, but it's alleged Ferguson controlled the checkbook and $9-million in demo work was funneled to him.

The jury began deliberations on Friday.  Fox 2 legal analyst Charlie Langton says they have a lot of information to digest.

"The U.S. Attorney's Office does have a very good track record with public corruption cases, but this case is different in that it involves very technical issues of taxes and bids and process, and generally speaking, if the testimony is very complicated, the jury says that, hey, if we can't understand this, how could the defendants in this case understand it.  In other words, how could Bobby Ferguson understand that. So that could hurt the prosecution here."

Ferguson has been on the feds' radar for years.  Agents raided his office in 2009.  Since then, federal prosecutors have been building a case against not only Ferguson, but also against his good friend Kwame Kilpatrick.  During their trial, prosecutors made sure to exploit their relationship.

"The issue is going to be whether or not Kwame Kilpatrick's name has poisoned the jurors enough.  That remains to be seen, but that seems to have been kind of a strategy from the prosecution," Langton said.

Ferguson's attorney claims the contractor did nothing wrong, even paid taxes on money he earned from the project.

If found guilty, Ferguson faces up to 20 years in prison.  Guilty or not in this case, his legal troubles won't be over.  Ferguson is also named in a public corruption case involving his good friend Kwame Kilpatrick and Bernard Kilpatrick.  That trial is scheduled to get underway in the fall.

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