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Local News / Politics

Friday, 5 September, 2008 8:00 PM

Kwame Kilpatrick Admits Lying Under Oath and Resigns From Office

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A file photo of Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick circa 2006.


by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

 

The Kwame Kilpatrick roller coast has stopped. The Detroit Mayor admitted to lying under oath on Thursday and pleaded guilty to two felony charges of obstructing justice by committing perjury. He will spend four months in jail, pay $1 million in restitution and serve five years' probation. Kilpatrick will not be able to run for office during that time period. Detroit City Council President Ken Cockrel, Jr. will become interim mayor on Sept. 19.

Over the last eight months, the city and the state was faced with a negative image due to the text message scandal between the mayor and his former chief of staff Christine Beatty.

The mayor also agreed Thursday to a no-contest plea on one count of assault for shoving a sherriff's deputy in July who was attempting to serve a subpoena on Kilpatrick's friend. Kilpatrick said he would serve four months on that charge, however it will happen at the same time.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm's removal hearing has been put on hold until Sept. 22. That case will be closed if the mayor resigns as he is scheduled to.

In January, the mayor was charged with eight felony county including conspiracy, perjury and misconduct in office. The Detroit Free Press reported that the mayor lied on the witness stand during a police whistle-blower trial. He also gave a misleading testimony about firing deputy police chief Gary Brown.

"While my heart is heavy, I support Mayor Kilpatrick’s decision to do what he believes is best for his family, our family, and the citizens of Detroit," said Michigan Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, who is also his mother. "I would like to thank all those who have encouraged the Mayor and our family with your prayers, cards, and other expressions of support. I ask that you continue to pray for the Mayor and his family and the city of Detroit during this difficult time.”

The mayor held a press conference late on Thursday. Two reporters were not allowed to attend that speech including WXYZ-TV's Steve Wilson and the Detroit Free Press's M.L. Elrick. Bodyguards said they had to wait outside.

"I want to emphasize tonight that I take full responsibility for my own actions, for the poor judgment that they reflected," said Kilpatrick in his press conference. "I wish with all my heart that we could turn back the hands of time and tell that young man to make better choices, but I can’t. My challenge now is to put the anguish and turmoil of the recent months behind us and join in a common cause to love our city, to love one another, and to move forward together."

Almost immediately after the mayor resigned, police chief Ella Bully-Cummings followed suit. Then, came news of Sharon McPhail's resignation plans. She served as the former mayor's general counsel.

Support for the mayor has been dwindling over the past few months. In June, after the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup, the mayor was booed at a rally in Hart Plaza. Kilpatrick was barred from attending the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Barack Obama was worried that the mayor would negatively effect his campaign. Many local leaders and business people called for the mayor to step down.

"This has been a difficult time for the city, region and state, and I'm hopeful that attention can return to addressing the important work at hand," said Christopher Ilitch, President & CEO, Ilitch Holdings, Inc. "History has shown we are a caring and hearty community, not easily deterred, and I believe that bodes well for our collective future. I am confident we can -- and will -- persevere and continuously improve to make this a better place for all."

Council President Ken Cockrel Jr. will become Detroit's 61st mayor in two weeks. He has served on the city council for the last 11 years. Cockrel Jr. will not announce any appointments until after the current mayor leaves office. The incoming mayor says he will stabilize city government and move the city forward.

Kilpatrick will be sentenced to jail on Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. He is being given two weeks to empty out his office at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Former Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings was seen at a meeting of the Detroit Economic Club on August 27, 2008.

 

Related Story: Kwame Leads Detroit Into The Mire

Related Story: Kwame & Wife Deliver Political Theatre

 

 

 

 

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