Today, a Detroit judge sentenced the city’s former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to 28 years in prison for corruption, including racketeering conspiracy, fraud, extortion and tax crimes.
According to reports, Kilpatrick, who served as the Motor City’s mayor from 2002 to 2008, “fattened his bank account by tens of thousands of dollars, traveled the country in private planes and even strong-armed his campaign fundraiser for stacks of cash.” Sources say Kilpatrick raked the now-bankrupt city of nearly $5 million.
In March, Kilpatrick was convicted of 24 counts of corruption in a conspiracy case that included his father, Bernard Kilpatrick; his childhood friend Bobby Ferguson; and ex-water department director Victor Mercado. Those men will receive their prison sentences at successive dates, the first on Friday.
Kwame Kilpatrick’s five-month trial was the result of a six-year investigation that tracked what federal officials described as a scheme to strong-arm city contractors working for the Water and Sewerage Department into funneling $84 million in city contracts to shell companies operated by Mr. Ferguson. Prosecutors described Bernard Kilpatrick as the middleman whom contractors were forced to hire as a consultant to secure city contracts.
“I’m ready to go so the city can move on,” the 43-year-old told the judge before his sentence. “The people here are suffering, they’re hurting. A great deal of that hurt I accept responsibility for.”
Judge Nancy Edmunds responded, “A man with the charisma and ability of Mr. Kilpatrick chose to use his talents on personal aggrandizement and enrichment when he had the potential to do so much for the city.”
“I just humbly and respectfully ask for a fair sentence,” Kilpatrick said. I respect the jury’s verdict. I think your honor knows I have disagreed in terms of the specific things I was found guilty on, but I respect the verdict and I also respect the American justice system.”
According to federal prosecutors, 28 years was the maximum sentence for Kilpatrick crimes.
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