Kwame Kilpatrick Found Guilty in Federal Corruption Trial

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Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick sits in a Wayne County Circuit Court room during a bond hearing to request removal of his court ordered tether and loosening travel restrictions in DetroitFormer Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been convicted on 24 charges against him after a five-month trial. Along with contractor Bobby Ferguson and his father Bernard Kilpatrick, the fallen politician faced 45 felony charges stemming from his term as mayor. Kilpatrick was found guilty on the most serious charges, extortion and racketeering, each of which carry a sentence of up to 20 years.

Ferguson was also found guilty of 11 charges, while the senior Kilpatrick was only convicted for filing a false tax return.

Kilpatrick’s tenure as mayor ended abruptly in 2008 amid a sex scandal and allegations of corruption. The trial’s September 21 start date was almost exactly four years from the date Kilpatrick left office.

Federal prosecutors presented months’ worth of damning evidence and witness testimony leading up to Monday’s conviction.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds said that jurors came to unanimous decisions on 40 of the trial’s 45 charges, after spending 15 days deliberating. Before reading the verdict aloud, Edmunds thanked the 12 jurors, saying that they did “an extraordinary job.”

Current Detroit Mayor Dave Bing released a statement celebrating the end of the high profile case, viewing it as a chance for closure.  Though Kilpatrick’s era is over, Detroit is facing a likely takeover by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder because of the city’s continued financial woes.

“I am pleased that this long trial has ended and we can finally put this negative chapter in Detroit’s history behind us,” Bing said. “It is time for all of us to move forward with a renewed commitment to transparency and high ethical standards in our city government.

Both Bernard and Kwame Kilpatrick and Ferguson will remain in custody until sentencing, which is not expected to take place for several months. Kilpatrick still owes more than $840,000 in restitution to the city for a prior conviction for obstruction of justice.

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