© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Former Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick Convicted On Corruption Charges

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on his way into court Monday in Detroit.
Regina H. Boone
MCT /Landov
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on his way into court Monday in Detroit.

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, once a rising star in the Democratic Party, was convicted in a Detroit federal court Monday on a variety of corruption-related charges.

Here's how Michigan Radio sums up the news:

"The federal government has won its RICO [racketeering] case against Kwame Kilpatrick and his longtime contractor friend Bobby Ferguson. Kwame's father, Bernard Kilpatrick, was found not guilty in the racketeering charges, but he was found guilty of one tax charge. Kilpatrick and his longtime contractor friend Bobby Ferguson have been found guilty on multiple racketeering, extortion, wire and mail fraud charges. Kilpatrick has also been found guilty of mail and wire fraud."

Kilpatrick has faced a small mountain of charges in recent years and already served some time in prison for other crimes. Last September, as the federal case against him began, Morning Edition ran through his recent history:

"In 2008, the then-mayor was embroiled in a scandal over racy text messages to his mistress, and his family was being pursued for interviews by what he labeled a white racist media. At the end of a televised State of the City address, before a handpicked crowd of supporters, Kilpatrick fired back at his critics. ...

"Six months later, a far more subdued Kilpatrick resigned from office and admitted to a judge he'd lied about the text messages during a deposition.

" 'I lied under oath in the case of Gary Brown and Harold Nelthrope versus the city of Detroit. I did so with the intent to mislead the court, and the jury, and to impede and obstruct the fair administration of justice,' Kilpatrick said.

"He was sentenced to four months in jail and $1 million restitution.

"But while on probation, a judge found him guilty of hiding assets and sentenced him to 14 months of prison time."

Today, as the Detroit Free Press writes:

"Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick and his contractor friend Bobby Ferguson faced a combined 45 charges accusing them of racketeering, extortion, bribery and mail fraud, among other things. Kwame Kilpatrick faced 30 counts, Ferguson faced 11 and Bernard Kilpatrick, Kilpatrick's father, faced four.

"Kilpatrick was convicted on 24 of 30 counts. He and Ferguson were found guilty on multiple counts of extortion. Kilpatrick was also found guilty on several charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and for filing false taxes. Bernard Kilpatrick was convicted on one tax count, but there was no verdict for Bernard Kilpatrick on the racketeering charge.

"The most weighty of the charges was the one levied under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO), a 1970 law that was initially designed to combat organized crime but has since been used in several public corruption trials. In the Detroit case, prosecutors charged the group they called the 'Kilpatrick Enterprise' engaged in a pattern of criminal activity — one of the requirements of RICO ­-- that included at least two criminal acts."

According to the newspaper, "the most serious charges, including racketeering and mail fraud, carry maximum 20-year prison sentences."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.