DETROIT (AP) – Legal experts said Tuesday that the heart of the perjury case against Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick – steamy text messages that seem to contradict his sworn denials of an affair with an aide – might be less open-and-shut than many believe.

Kilpatrick’s attorneys want to keep the intimate and sexually explicit text messages out of a trial, and at least one outside defense lawyer says the admissibility of such high-tech communications is an unsettled legal question.

Even if they are admitted, experts say the defense will exploit any ambiguity in the messages, in the questions the mayor and former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty were asked under oath, and in their answers.

“If the questions were not clear, and that’s going to be used to prove the case, then that’s another avenue in trying to establish a reasonable doubt,” former federal prosecutor Matthew Orwig said Tuesday.

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