Created on: March 12, 2013
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted Monday on two dozen federal charges of the 30 counts of corruption and bribery during his tenure from 2001 to 2008, reports the Associated Press. The once promising Democratic Party star was accused of extorting bribes from contractors, widespread corruption and, as prosecutors said, turning the mayor’s office into “Kilpatrick incorporated.”
Kilpatrick could face up to 20 years in prison for the most serious charges. One of the biggest charges was giving Bobby Ferguson, a friend and city contractor, nearly $83 million worth of city contracts. Some of the money was also given to the former mayor.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents had said that Kilpatrick lived about $840,000 above his means, which is the total amount he spent above his mayoral annual salary. Despite this, Kilpatrick was stunned by each verdict as he shook his head as they were being read aloud, according to the Washington Times.
After 14 days of deliberations, the jury unanimously delivered a guilty verdict in one of the largest public corruption cases in the history of Detroit. The 12 members of the jury found the former mayor guilty of bribery, tax charges, racketeering, extortion and mail and wire fraud.
Ferguson was also found guilty of bribery, extortion and racketeering. Bernard Kilpatrick, the former mayor’s father, was charged and convicted on one count of signing a false tax return. He faces up to three years in prison and remains free pending sentencing.
Kilpatrick and Ferguson are both being held in custody pending sentencing – they were free on bail throughout the trial. No sentencing dates have yet to be announced.
“Kwame Kilpatrick didn't lead the city. He looted the city," Barbara McQuade, the attorney in Detroit, told a news conference, according to Reuters. "While Kwame Kilpatrick enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, he watched the quality of life erode for the people of Detroit."
The USA Today reports that Kilpatrick’s lawyer, James Thomas, will appeal the verdict. Both Ferguson and Kilpatrick continue to main their innocence.
“He is definitely going to pursue that with every ounce of his being," said Thomas. "I would expect that the judge is going to sentence him to a very difficult time. If that is the case, would you expect him to not do anything?"
Ferguson’s attorney, Michael Rataj, is also considering an appeal.
“Anytime you put your heart and soul into something like we did with this, you're disappointed," Rataj told the news outlet. "You never really prepare yourself for this. I'm definitely shocked by the verdict."
Detroit Mayor David Bing said in a statement reported by the New York Times that it is time for the city to move on: “It is time for all of us to move forward with a renewed commitment to transparency and high ethical standards in our city government.”
Learn more about this author, Andrew Moran.
Click here to send this author comments or questions.
Below are the top articles rated and ranked by Helium members on:
Kwame Kilpatrick found guilty of corruption
Cast your vote!
Click for your side.