[JPL] Meanwhile in other Detroit news...

mfa - jazz radio promotion & publicity MitchellFeldmanAssociates at Comcast.net
Thu Sep 4 11:18:59 EDT 2008


September 5, 2008
Detroit Mayor Pleads Guilty, Agrees to Resign
By Susan Saulny
DETROIT — Kwame M. Kilpatrick, the charismatic mayor of Detroit who  
has been embroiled in legal problems stemming from a sex scandal since  
the beginning of the year, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice  
and agreed to resign Thursday morning as part of a deal with  
prosecutors.

He agreed to plead guilty to two felony counts of obstruction of  
justice, pay restitution to the city of $1 million, give up his law  
license, forfeit his state pension and serve 120 days in the Wayne  
County jail. His resignation is to take effect within 14 days. All  
other charges were dismissed, and the judge scheduled sentencing for  
Oct. 28.

“He understands fully the agreement and agrees to be bound by it,  
judge,” a lawyer for Mr. Kilpatrick, Gerald Evelyn, told Wayne County  
Circuit Court Judge David A. Groner.

Judge Groner asked Mr. Kilpatrick, “Is this something you are ready to  
do today?” He added, “Do you have any questions?”“I have no questions  
about what’s going on today,” Mr. Kilpatrick told Judge Groner. Later,  
he said, “I lied under oath.”

Mr. Kilpatrick had been facing 10 felony charges in two criminal cases  
that involved allegations of perjury and assault. Despite being under  
pressure for to step down for months, Mr. Kilpatrick, 38, clung to his  
office, even telling residents in a live television appearance, “I  
will never quit on you. Ever.”

His refusal to resign delighted a certain segment of this city’s  
mostly poor, mostly black population, who felt pride in Mr.  
Kilpatrick’s rise from the Detroit public schools to the mayor’s  
mansion. But others here found Mr. Kilpatrick arrogant and stubborn.  
Some of his most loyal supporters turned on him in recent weeks,  
angered to see Detroit dragged through a long and tawdry affair that  
distracted the region from more pressing matters in a time of serious  
economic trouble in Michigan.

In contrast to his recent court appearances, in which he seemed  
defiant and jovial, Mr. Kilpatrick, a former college football star,  
walked into the small courtroom where he took the plea looking  
dejected. He hugged his lawyers and seemed to be fighting back his  
emotions.

As he answered questions from the judge in the case, however, he  
smiled occasionally and joked.

The president of the Detroit City Council president, Kenneth V.  
Cockrel Jr., will take over as mayor. Mr. Cockrel’s late father was a  
prominent political figure in Detroit, and his stepmother, Sheila M.  
Cockrel, is also a member of the council.

Despite the legal closure for Mr. Kilpatrick, many people in Detroit  
see his departure as the beginning of a new chapter of challenges for  
the city. The council does not have a reputation for working well  
together, and the F.B.I. is investigating whether illegal payments  
were made in one of its recent multi-million dollar contract approvals.

How the city will be governed in the immediate future is an open  
question. “It will be a long time before anyone can say we recovered  
from this crisis and are fully back on track,” said John R.  
Chamberlin, a professor at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy  
at the University of Michigan. “It will be measured in months and  
years, not weeks.”

The city government became progressively more paralyzed as the scandal  
surrounding Mr. Kilpatrick played out in headlines and courtrooms over  
the past eight months, stemming mainly from the revelation that the  
mayor had conducted an extramarital affair with an aide and from his  
efforts to keep the affair secret.

He was accused of forcing three police officers out of their jobs, and  
then, when they sued the city over their dismissal, of using $8.4  
million in public funds to, in effect, buy their silence, by settling  
the suit on favorable terms before the affair could be disclosed in  
court testimony.

The affair became public anyway, when The Detroit Free Press published  
steamy text messages sent from a city-owned pager that detailed much  
of the romance between Mr. Kilpatrick and the aide, Christine Beatty,  
his chief of staff. The messages and the affair contradicted testimony  
that both Mr. Kilpatrick and Ms. Beatty had given under oath last year.

Mr. Kilpatrick, a two-term mayor who had brimmed with promise early in  
his career, was charged with eight felonies including perjury and  
misconduct in office. Ms. Beatty, who was also charged with felony  
counts, resigned in January.

Earlier this month, the Michigan attorney general, Mike Cox, charged  
Mr. Kilpatrick with two more felony counts, this time of assault  
against police officers. According to Mr. Cox, the mayor interfered  
with the officers, shouting and shoving, as they tried to serve a  
subpoena on one of his friends.

The Detroit City Council, which has no power to remove the mayor,  
voted to censure him and to request his resignation; in May, after Mr.  
Kilpatrick refused, the council asked Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm, who  
does have that power, to intervene. Governor Granholm scheduled a  
hearing on the issue that began on Wednesday after court challenges by  
Mr. Kilpatrick’s lawyers failed to block it.

Both Mr. Kilpatrick and Ms. Granholm are Democrats, as are all the  
members of the city council.


Copyright © 2008 The New York Times Company

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