Kwame Kilpatrick, ex-Detroit mayor was convicted of corruption by a jury on Monday after a five month trial. Kilpatrick was found guilty on several charges, including racketeering conspiracy which holds a maximum prison sentence of 20 years reports The Associated Press.
During the trial, prosecutors provided evidence of bribes, contract rigging and kickbacks from donors and other schemes. Kilpatrick would force business owners to hire his friend, Bobby Ferguson, as a subcontractor on any excavation work or risk losing lucrative government contracts. Ferguson was also convicted of racketeering charges. In total, Kilpatrick was found guilty of 23 charges with the jury finding him not guilty on three other charges and no ruling on three other charges reports AP.
The trial included testimony from Emma Bell, a fundraiser who gave Kilpatrick over $200,000 from political donations and Derrick Miller, an aide of Kilpatrick, also testified he would pass along bribes to Kilpatrick notes AP. Kilpatrick has maintained his innocence and defense attorney James Thomas said that the extra funds were just “cash gifts.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow described the amount corruption and bribes as “breathtaking and said in his closing argument, "We cannot turn away and ignore the corruption that occurred in this city. It is time for the former mayor and his accomplices to be held accountable for their crimes — it is past time," reports AP.
This is the second conviction of crimes occurring while Kilpatrick was in office. Kilpatrick was elected as mayor of Detroit in 2001 when he was just 31-years-old. Kilpatrick resigned in 2008 after it was revealed he was having an affair with his chief of staff Christine Beatty by the Detroit Free Press. Kilpatrick and Beatty shared thousands of sexually explicit text messages on government-issued pagers. Kilpatrick agreed to a plea deal where he pleaded guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice leading to four months in jail at Wayne County Jail and pay $1 million in restitution to Detroit. After missing a restitution payment, Kilpatrick spent 14 months in jail notes AP.
WXYZ kept a live blog for the ruling on Monday and during the bond hearing, Kilpatrick and Ferguson were ordered to jail until sentencing.
Speaking about Kilpatrick’s conviction current Detroit mayor Dave Bing said in a statement, “It’s time for all of us to move forward with a renewed commitment to transparency and high ethical standards in our city government.”
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