Detroit Mayor Jailed for Violating Bail Conditions
Friday, August 8, 2008
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, indicted in an obstruction-of-justice case, was jailed yesterday for violating his bail conditions by taking a business trip to Canada.
Kilpatrick, who faces eight felony counts including perjury and misconduct in office, was ordered to the Wayne County Jail by District Judge Ronald Giles.
Kilpatrick admitted the trip to Windsor and apologized in court, but he insisted that the journey over the border was an emergency to promote the sale of the city's half of the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. He is to appear in court at 9 a.m. today to appeal the decision.
On Tuesday, his mother, Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Mich.), scraped out a win in the party primary. The six-term incumbent's campaign was dominated by the media frenzy surrounding her son.
Since Kilpatrick was elected in 2001, at the age of 31, his administration has been punctuated by scandal. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy says that during a whistle-blower lawsuit, Kilpatrick lied to a jury about an affair with his former chief of staff, Christine Beatty. The case was brought by two police officers, who said they were fired after investigating the mayor's behavior.
After the case was settled for $8.4 million, the Detroit Free Press revealed that the mayor sent his chief of staff thousands of text messages. The sexually explicit content of some messages contradicted the mayor's sworn statements.
The mayor's wife, Carlita, stood by him as he made a televised apology from his church to the city in January.
A Wayne County police officer also accused Kilpatrick of shoving him last month when the mayor was being served with a subpoena.
In his first three years as mayor, Kilpatrick spent more than $200,000 on his city credit card as Detroit struggled with a huge budget deficit, and he leased a Lincoln Navigator for his wife for $1,000 a month.
Kilpatrick has waived his right to a preliminary hearing, so the case heads to the criminal division of the Wayne County Circuit Court.
"I think it was most appropriate for Judge Giles to take action regarding Defendant Kilpatrick's bond considering his most recent behavior," Worthy said in a statement.
"We respectfully disagree with the judge," said Marcus Reese, a spokesman for Kilpatrick's legal team. "This was the most extreme option, and we're obviously going to appeal. The trip to Canada was taken on the basis that if the deal fell through, a significant number of city employees would lose their jobs."
In February, the Detroit City Council voted to demand Kilpatrick's resignation. It asked Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm (D) to remove him on grounds of misconduct, calling the situation an "unprecedented crisis."
Yesterday, the mayor filed a response, meaning the governor will hold a hearing on the removal on Sept. 3.
Kandia Milton, Kilpatrick's chief of staff, will run the city while he is in jail.