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article imageDetroit Mayor Pleads Guilty, Must Resign

By Sadiq Green     Sep 4, 2008 in Crime
In what can best be described as a stunning fall from grace, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to two felony charges of obstruction of justice this morning. Kilpatrick must step down as mayor and serve 120 days in jail and 5 years probation.
In addition to the jail time, Kilpatrick mist pay $1 million dollars in restitution to the Motor City and surrender his law license.
The Plea-Bargin ends for Kilpatrick a scandal that began in January when the Detroit Free Press published raunchy text messages between Kilpatrick and his ex-chief of staff Christine Beatty. An excerpt from April 8, 2003:
Kilpatrick: "And, did you miss me, sexually?"
Beatty: "Hell yeah! You couldn't tell. I want some more."
Kilpatrick's legal and political problems stemmed from his testimony during a civil lawsuit by former Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown. Brown claimed in 2003 he was fired for providing testimony in an investigation into a wild party that included strippers at the mayoral mansion. Kilpatrick's wife is alleged to have physically attacked one of the strippers. During the trial, Kilpatrick swore he never had a romantic relationship with his chief of staff, however the published messages proved otherwise.
Kilpatrick had already settled the suit for $8.4 million and cut a side deal with the ex-cop's lawyer to keep the texts secret, so he really had to feel burned by the press. After the scandal broke, the Detroit City Council requested he resign, but Kilpatrick refused to do so.
In August, Kilpatrick spent a night in jail after violating his bond by crossing the Canadian border to Windsor, Ontario, on city business. The mayor was also charged with assault for allegedly shoving a sheriff's deputy who tried to serve a warrant at his sister's house. For a time, he wore an electronic tether bracelet, confining him to metro Detroit.
As a result of Kilpatrick refusing to step down, the City Council asked Gov. Jennifer Granholm to step in. As governor, Granholm has the power to remove officials from their posts. Granholm was reluctant to yank the mayor of a city whose voters provide her party's margin of victory. But she was not wont to allow Kilpatrick's misbehavior to scuttle business in Detroit -- and possibly scuttle Barack Obama's campaign in Michigan. On Wednesday, she convened a removal hearing that forced Kilpatrick's hand.
Kilpatrick became mayor in January 2002 at age 31. He defeated City Councilman Gil Hill, a former police detective who gained fame for playing Eddie Murphy's boss in the "Beverly Hills Cop" movies. He earned him the nickname "The Hip-Hop Mayor" for his flashy suits and diamond earrings. He soon would alienate voters by leasing a $25,000 Lincoln Navigator on the city's dime and use a city card to charge champagne and spa massages.
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