Ex-Detroit mayor sentenced to 28 years in corruption trial

The former mayor of Detroit, Michigan was sentenced to 28 years in prison on Thursday after being found guilty of committing racketeering conspiracy, fraud, extortion and tax crimes during his stint in office.

Prosecutors asked for a minimum of 28 years for Kilpatrick, who
resigned from the mayor’s office in 2008 amid an unrelated
scandal. Defense attorneys, the Associated Press, reported hoped
for only a decade-and-a-half.

At the very least, a significant sentence will send a message
that this kind of conduct will not be tolerated
,” Judge Nancy
G. Edmunds of United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Michigan said before she made her determination early
Thursday.

The government has asked for a sentence of 28 years,”
Edmunds said. “I believe that is in fact what his sentence
should be
.”

According to Barbara McQuade, the US attorney for the Eastern
District of Michigan, Edmunds’ ruling is”equal to the longest
sentence
” for corruption ever handed down to a public
official.

McQuade said the sentence was “appropriate for the type of
staggering corruption we saw in this case
,” according to the
Detroit Free Press.

Kilpatrick was convicted seven months earlier of a myriad of
corruption-related charges totaling 24 counts in all. The New
York Times reported Thursday that Kilpatrick is on the roster of
at least 18 city officials who have been convicted of corruption
during his tenure as the top leader in Detroit, a position he was
elected to start in 2002, in turn becoming the youngest mayor of
the city’s history at age 31.

I understand this city,” Kilpatrick said during his
inaugural address. “This position is personal to me. It’s much
more than just politics
.”

Indeed, prosecutors said Kilpatrick masterminded a vast
enterprise while in office that cumulated in two-dozen
convictions handed down this past March and this week’s
sentencing.

McQuade, the district attorney, told CNN after Kilpatrick’s
conviction earlier this year that “The mayor was not focused
on running the city. He was focused on using the mayor’s office
as a money-making machine
.”

Allegations lobbed against Kilpatrick during his trial included
accusations that he took bribes and misused funds, all while what
Judge Edmunds said was abusing the power that came with the role
of mayor. The government previously asked Kilpatrick and a
contractor friend involved in scheming the city through the
mayor’s office to cough up more than $9 million in restitution to
compensate Detroit for money swindled during the marred
administration. A text message scandal credited with prompting
Kilpatrick’s 2008 resignation mandated he pay $1-million to the
city, of which only 15 percent has been handed over so far.

Prosecutors said Kilpatrick funneled millions of dollars to
himself, his friends and his family while running Detroit, a rust
belt city that has been on the decline for ages and only recently
filed for bankruptcy. Detroit has seen two mayors take officer
since Kilpatrick resigned in 2008, but the city is currently
under the control of Kevyn Orr, an emergency manager instilled at
the helm of Motown by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder earlier this
year.

According to a report released by Orr’s office in March, Detroit
had “negative cash flows of $115.5 million” at the end of
the last fiscal year. Bill Nowling, a spokesman for Orr, told
Bloomberg News that all of the city’s revenue couldn’t pay off
its debt in 20 years’ time. Critics of Kilpatrick say he is at
least partially to blame.

I want the city to heal. I want it to prosper. I want the
city to be great again
,” he said at Thursday’s sentencing
hearing. “I want the city to have the same feeling it had in
2006, when the Super Bowl was here.”

Copyright: RT