(AP) 28 years in prison for corrupt ex-Detroit mayor
By ED WHITE
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been sentenced to 28 years in prison for corruption that turned city hall into a pay-to-play parlor.
Kilpatrick was convicted earlier this year of two dozen crimes, including racketeering conspiracy, bribery and extortion. There was evidence of shakedowns, kickbacks and strong-arm tactics to reaped tens of thousands of dollars and other benefits from people who wanted city business.
The sentence was a victory for prosecutors, who had recommended Kilpatrick serve at least 28 years in prison, while defense attorneys argued for no more than 15 years.
Kilpatrick quit office in 2008 after a different scandal involving sexually explicit text messages and an extramarital affair. The 43-year-old Democrat served as mayor for nearly seven years.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick returns to court Thursday to face what is likely to be one of the longer sentences in recent cases of public corruption, the result of two dozen convictions that range from bribery to extortion to tax crimes.
While the city’s finances foundered, Kilpatrick was shaking down contractors, ensuring that a pal got millions in city work and turning a nonprofit fund to help struggling Detroiters into a personal slush fund, according to evidence at his five-month trial.
Federal prosecutors are recommending Kilpatrick serve at least 28 years in prison, while defense attorneys are hoping the sentence doesn’t exceed 15 years.
Kilpatrick, 43, quit office in 2008 because of a different scandal involving sexually explicit text messages and an extramarital affair.
He was forced out while the auto industry was nearing collapse and Detroit’s unstable finances were deteriorating even more. The city now is run by a state-appointed emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, who took Detroit into Chapter 9 bankruptcy last summer as a last-ditch effort to fix billions of dollars in debt.
Defense attorneys called it a “cheap shot,” noting Kilpatrick has been out of office for five years.
They want U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds to give some credit to Kilpatrick for the 2006 Super Bowl and 2005 baseball All-Star Game in Detroit, as well as 75 new downtown businesses.
Agents who pored over bank accounts and credit cards said Kilpatrick spent $840,000 beyond his salary during his time as mayor. His trial attorney, James Thomas, tried to portray the money as generous gifts from political supporters who opened their wallets for birthdays or holidays.
In their sentencing memo, Kilpatrick’s lawyers made a point that’s commonly argued in cases of high-profile criminals: Our client already has suffered deeply.
Kilpatrick is “infamous, destitute and disgraced,” the attorneys said.
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