Ex-Mayor of Detroit Convicted in Corruption Case
Posted in the Columbus Forum
#1 Mar 11, 2013
DETROIT — Kwame M. Kilpatrick, a former mayor of Detroit, was found guilty on Monday of a range of charges, including corruption and fraud, at the completion of a five-month trial. Jurors reached consensus on 40 of the 45 charges leveled against Mr. Kilpatrick and his co-defendants, the judge in the trial said.
The verdicts brought to a close a trial in which prosecutors laid out a complex case against Mr. Kilpatrick and his co-defendants — including his father, Bernard, and a city contractor, Bobby W. Ferguson — arguing that they had used the mayor’s office to enrich themselves for years through shakedowns, kickbacks and bid-rigging schemes.
The jury found Mr. Kilpatrick guilty of some 22 of the 30 charges against him, including the most serious charges, that of racketeering and extortion, which each have a maximum sentence of 20 years. The former mayor was also found guilty of mail fraud.
The remaining charges were returned with no decisions from a hung jury or as not guilty verdicts.
After the verdicts were read, Mr. Kilpatrick shook his head, muttered and looked at his lawyer.
Mr. Ferguson, who faced 11 counts, was found guilty of racketeering, bribery and extortion, with at least one not guilty verdict on an extortion charge.
The former mayor’s father was convicted on a charge of filing a false tax return.
Elected mayor of Detroit in 2001, the youngest person, at 31, to hold that position in the city’s history, Mr. Kilpatrick was seen by many as a future star of the Democratic Party, destined to lift Detroit out of economic hardship and then rise himself through the ranks of national politics.
#2 Mar 11, 2013
But the corruption charges against Mr. Kilpatrick, filed in 2010, had been by far the most serious of his troubles. Prosecutors accused him and his close associates — a group referred to in the indictment as the Kilpatrick Enterprise — of extortion and illegally steering municipal contracts to Mr. Ferguson worth $84 million.
In two-hour closing statements last month, after a trial that featured about 80 witnesses for the prosecution, R. Michael Bullotta, an assistant United States attorney, said the Kilpatrick administration’s enrichment formula was simple:“No deal without me.”
“That was their mantra, those were their words,” Mr. Bullotta said.“They had to get a piece.”
Federal prosecutors also contend that Mr. Kilpatrick spent donations that were intended for his charity, the Kilpatrick Civic Fund, on golf equipment, summer camp for his children, yoga lessons for himself and other personal expenses.
Defense lawyers claimed that there was no proof Mr. Kilpatrick did anything wrong, saying the prosecution’s case was built on weak circumstantial evidence and a raft of lying witnesses.
“We came here into this courtroom with a lot of baggage,” said James Thomas, Mr. Kilpatrick’s lawyer, who argued that his client had been unfairly “demonized by the media.”
Mr. Kilpatrick, whose wife and three children live in the Dallas area, could face up to 20 years in prison.
#3 Mar 11, 2013
From Haiti to Harlem, from Columbus to the Congo, from Detroit to Darfur, Black Rule has always indicated a slow descent into hell on earth, Detroit and likewise the North side of Columbus, once clean and relatively criminal free, is now facing rising crime, declining property values and increasing property taxes.
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