Mayor Excused From Testifying Against One-Time Confidante
DETROIT (AP) _ Mayor Coleman Young won’t take the stand in the fraud trial of a one-time confidante now accused of being a con man, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
Young’s lawyers told U.S. District Judge John Feikens in a letter that the mayor would exercise his Fifth Amendment rights and refuse to answer all questions if called as a witness in Kenneth Weiner’s trial.
Feikens excused Young from taking the stand because his testimony could be self-incriminating.
Alvin Gendelman and Steven Lewin, who also are on trial, wanted Young to testify in their defense.
The three men are charged with organizing a precious metals scheme that bilked wealthy investors of millions of dollars.
Peter J. Kelley, a lawyer for Young, said the mayor exercised his constitutional rights because of an ongoing federal grand jury probe of alleged corruption and mishandling of funds at the Police Department.
The grand jury has subpoenaed financial records of Young’s private consulting company, Detroit Technologies and Investment Inc. The government hasn’t disclosed whether Young is targeted in that investigation, which also involves Weiner, Kelley said.
Young spokesman Robert Berg didn’t immediately return a reporter’s telephone call Thursday.
″I am not on trial over there,″ Young said last week. ″I don’t know a damn thing about what’s going on over there. And I have nothing to say about what’s going on over there. Period.″
Young’s ties to Weiner go back several years while Weiner was deputy police chief.
Weiner in 1986 promised to provide incriminating evidence on Young if the government agreed to grant Weiner immunity in the fraud scheme, court records show.