Ex-Detroit mayor convicted of corruption charges
(CNN) — A jury on Monday convicted former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of most of the federal charges against him — including racketeering conspiracy, extortion and the filing of false tax returns — in a case that accused him of using the mayor’s office to enrich himself and associates, CNN affiliate WDIV-TV reported.
Contractor Bobby Ferguson also was found guilty Monday of racketeering and extortion. Kilpatrick’s father, Bernard Kilpatrick, was found guilty of a single tax count, and not guilty on two others charges, according to WDIV.
Kwame Kilpatrick and Ferguson were sent to a federal detention facility by U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds hours after both were convicted in their corruption trial, CNN affiliates WDIV and WXYZ reported.
“While he enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, he watched the quality of life erode for the people of Detroit,” Barbara McQuade, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, said. “The mayor was not focused on running the city. He was focused on using the mayor’s office as a money-making machine.”
Kilpatrick, the Detroit mayor from 2002 until he resigned in 2008, was the biggest target of a years-long Detroit City Hall corruption probe that led to the convictions of two dozen people, including several of his closest friends and former City Councilwoman Monica Conyers, the wife of U.S. Rep. John Conyers.
The former mayor was found guilty on 24 of 30 counts in federal court in Detroit. He could face up to 20 years in prison; sentencing did not take place Monday morning.
Federal prosecutors alleged Kilpatrick ran a criminal enterprise through the mayor’s office to enrich himself through bid rigging and extortion, and using nonprofit funds for personal gain.
When reporters asked Kilpatrick for a reaction to the verdict as he left the courthouse, he said, “Not at this time.”
Prosecutors said the defendants were “working together to abuse Kilpatrick’s public offices, both his position as a state representative as well as his position of mayor of Detroit, to unjustly enrich themselves through a pattern of extortion, bribery and fraud.”
At the heart of the scheme was corruption in municipal contracting, mostly centering on the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, said Barbara McQuade, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Derrick Miller, a former Kilpatrick aide, entered into a plea agreement last year and is expected to testify against his former associates.
In September 2008, the ex-mayor pleaded guilty to two felony counts of obstruction of justice stemming from his efforts to cover up an extramarital affair.
He also pleaded no contest to charges of assaulting a police officer who was attempting to serve a subpoena on a Kilpatrick friend in that case.