Detroit’s Ex-Mayor Kilpatrick Jailed For Four Months

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DETROIT – A judge sentenced former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to four months in jail Tuesday for a sex-and-text scandal, calling him “arrogant and defiant” and questioning the sincerity of a guilty plea that ended his career at City Hall. Kilpatrick declined to speak in court, but his lawyers urged the judge to look at his entire career, not just the crimes that threw local government into disarray for months.

The punishment was part of a plea agreement worked out last month. Wayne County Circuit Judge David Groner followed that deal but said Kilpatrick would not get time off for good behavior, potentially up to 20 days in this case.

“When someone gets 120 days in jail, they should get 120 days in jail,” Groner said.

Kilpatrick was taken across the street to the county jail, where he will spend 23 hours a day in a private cell.

As he was being led away, he yelled out to supporters: “You all take it easy.”

They responded: “Be strong, Mayor. We love you, Mayor. We got your back, Mayor.”

Kilpatrick, a Democrat, admitted lying while testifying last year in a civil lawsuit filed by former police officers who accused him of illegally demoting or firing them.

He and chief of staff Christine Beatty, both 38, were accused of having an affair and denied it, but text messages obtained by a lawyer in the case — and later the Detroit Free Press — clearly contradicted them.

They used their city pagers to arrange trysts and share sexually explicit desires. A fresh batch of messages was released last week, revealing that Kilpatrick, married with three children, likely had other lovers.

The sentencing was Kilpatrick’s first public forum since a speech to supporters after he pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice Sept. 4. In that address, he lashed out at Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who was holding hearings to remove him from office, and told Detroit, “You done set me up for a comeback.”

The judge said he was shocked by the comments.

“That night the community expected to hear a message of humility, remorse and apology,” Groner said. “Instead, we heard an arrogant and defiant man who accused the governor, among others, for his downfall.”

Groner told Kilpatrick that he misled the City Council into settling the police officers’ lawsuits for $8.4 million, “all in an attempt to protect your political career” by keeping a lid on steamy text messages.

“At a time when this city needed transparency, accountability and responsibility, you exhibited hubris and privilege at the expense of the city,” the judge said.

Kilpatrick also was given a 120-day concurrent sentence for assaulting a sheriff’s officer who was trying to deliver a subpoena in July.

Outside court, Kilpatrick’s father, Bernard Kilpatrick, said his son was “railroaded.” The former mayor’s mother, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich., was not in the courtroom.

A member of the defense team was more conciliatory.

“I don’t think there are any winners, just the end of a chapter,” lawyer Todd Flood told The Associated Press. “I think the mayor wanted this city to move on, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Besides jail, Kilpatrick will be on probation for five years and must pay the city $1 million in restitution by the end of that period. He made a downpayment of $20,000 Tuesday. He also signed a revocation of his law license.

Groner’s decision to not give Kilpatrick an opportunity for early release caused confusion at the sheriff’s department.

Spokesman John Roach said Kilpatrick probably would qualify for release after 100 days under a Michigan law allowing time off for good behavior. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy agreed, but then both backed off by evening.

Earlier, Worthy said “justice was served” in the Kilpatrick case. Beatty has turned down a plea deal and will go to trial in January.

The sexually explicit messages were first publicly disclosed last January by the Free Press. Beatty quickly resigned, but Kilpatrick hung on as mayor, even when prosecutors filed criminal charges against them in March.

Through spring and summer, Kilpatrick hired lawyers and image specialists and publicly ridiculed the case against him. Finally, he agreed to plead guilty and resign only after Granholm began the public hearing in September that could have led to his ouster.

Ken Cockrel Jr. was promoted to mayor from council president. A special election to fill the balance of Kilpatrick’s term will be held in May after the field is trimmed to two candidates Feb. 24.

“This is a sad day for Detroit and for the Kilpatrick family,” Cockrel said in a statement. “As a city, we now must put the past behind us and work together to meet our common challenges.”

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