Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced on May 24 to between 18 months and five years in prison after he was convicted of lying in court and hiding assets that could have been used to repay money he owes the city.
Kilpatrick’s political career as mayor of Detroit and as a Michigan state representative has been riddled with misuse of public funds, and illegal attempts to cover them up. Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice after text message records between him and his former chief of staff Christine Beatty revealed that he lied while under oath, according to the Detroit News.
Within two hours of his sentencing, Kilpatrick was clad in yellow prison garb and shipped to a Michigan state prison in Jackson. His attorneys said they would be asking the Michigan Court of Appeals for an emergency stay of his sentence, while they work on an appeal to the decision handed down by Wayne County Circuit Judge David Groner.
Kilpatrick has exhibited good behavior during past incarceration, which led legal experts to believe he will be a model prisoner, according to the Detroit News. Experts said that with good behavior he might only serve the minimum 14 months of his sentence before being paroled.
Several people weighed in on the court decision. Kilpatrick’s minister described the ruling as unfair. Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, who supported past attempts to oust Kilpatrick, said no one is above the law. And Kilpatrick’s mother, U.S. Representative Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick said she would be praying for Kwame.
“My heart is heavy,” she said. “I love my son. I will continue to pray for him and all those affected by this process.”
Michigan Department of Corrections probation officials originally said that Kilpatrick should not be sentenced beyond 17 months for violating the terms of his probation, set after he pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice.
The plea came after records from text messages showed he lied in court about having an affair with Beatty, according to the Detroit News.
The sentence was more in line with what Wayne Prosecutor Kym Worthy originally requested, which was at least two years in prison.
Despite the fact that Kilpatrick’s defense lawyers said any prison time would affect his ability to pay back a steep $1 million restitution bill Kilpatrick owes Detroit, the prison terms were handed down. Kilpatrick was immediately fired from his position as a software salesman, according to the Detroit News.
Kilpatrick will still have to pay back about $860,000 to the city of Detroit.