Ex-Detroit mayor found guilty of corruption

4:29 PM, Mar 11, 2013   |    comments
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DETROIT, Mich. --- Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick will be locked up immediately following his conviction this morning on racketeering, bribery and extortion charges, U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds ruled today.

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Edmunds remanded Kilpatrick and his longtime friend, contractor Bobby Ferguson, who also was convicted today on charges of racketeering, bribery and extortion. She said Kilpatrick showed disregard for the citizens of Detroit and was willing to lie to serve his needs, but did not disobey court orders.

Convicted defendants typically are released pending sentencing, unless they are deemed at risk of fleeing or are said to be dangerous to the community.

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Edmunds said Kilpatrick asserted his innocence, but said Ferguson has a history of intimidation.

Kilpatrick's father, Bernard Kilpatrick, who was convicted on a tax charge, was allowed to remain out on bond.

A jury concluded this morning that Kilpatrick and Ferguson ran a racket out of the mayor's office for years to enrich themselves. They were found guilty of shakedowns and bid-rigging.

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Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta argued that Kilpatrick should be detained because he has a history of disobeying orders. He also said Kilpatrick has access to money, as does Ferguson. Bullotta said Kilpatrick lied after his convictions on obstruction of justice charges in the text message scandal that drove him out of office.

"It's a different ball game now," he said.

Jim Thomas, Kilpatrick's attorney, asked for bond to be continued. He told Edmunds she has the discretion to grant a bond to his client, who has lived in Detroit - rather than in Texas with his family - because of issues with a parole officer.

Kilpatrick went to prison in 2010 after Wayne County Circuit Judge David Groner ruled that the former mayor hadn't been forthright about how much money he had to pay toward the $1 million restitution to the city for his crimes in the text message scandal.

Thomas said Kilpatrick has paid $150,000 toward his restitution to the city.

"Mr. Kilpatrick is not a risk of flight, and he's not a danger to the community," Thomas said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Doeh argued that Ferguson has a 2005 felony for pistol-whipping an employee; guns were found in his office in 2009 when he was prohibited from having them; he disregarded court instructions in 2010 when a search found a loaded shotgun at home he frequented; he was found to have large amounts of cash at his home and office; and he has traveled overseas, including to Saudi Arabia.

Ferguson's lawyer, Gerald Evelyn, said his client is a married businessman with five children. He had his money seized and surrendered his passport, Evelyn said.

"He is a person who can be trusted to remain on bond," he said.

Ferguson is on bond awaiting retrial in a federal bid-rigging case in which he was accused of conspiracy, fraud and money-laundering, among other charges. A jury failed to reach a verdict in his first trial.

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