HENNEPIN COUNTY JUDGE Robert Lynn called the case of Michael Kevin Summers before an empty courtroom last Thursday. Summers--the witness-protection name of Michael Fitzpatrick, the purported hitman in the government's conspiracy case against Qubilah Shabazz last year--has faced pending charges for fifth-degree possession of crack cocaine since a November 1993 arrest; the case was continued half a dozen times before the Shabazz affair went public, and has since been rescheduled another five times.
At Thursday's hearing, prosecutor Emily Johnson assured Lynn that Summers/Fitzpatrick had received notice of the hearing and requested that a bench warrant be issued for him. As to the defendant's whereabouts, Johnson says she has spoken to him on the phone in the past, but does not know his exact location. News accounts have indicated that Fitzpatrick reentered the witness protection program after the Shabazz case, but Johnson won't confirm his witness-protection status. "The feds had him for a while," she says, but adds that she is not at liberty to discuss the matter any further.