- Associated Press - Thursday, June 2, 2011

DETROIT (AP) - During the past year that Kwame Kilpatrick has spent in Michigan prisons, Detroit’s ex-mayor has had plenty of time to ponder the divide between a once-promising public service career that included shaking hands with U.S. presidents, but now gets spent rubbing elbows and swapping tales with murderers, rapists and common thieves.

It has been in those lonely hours that he thought about what he did right and wrong as mayor, and how those actions impacted the future of the city, Kilpatrick told The Associated Press Thursday in a telephone interview from behind bars.

“You have conversations with yourself,” the 40-year-old Kilpatrick said from Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson County. “You bounce ideas off yourself. It’s just you and the walls. What you learn is that there are the potential for greatness and potential for evil in each one of us. You begin to have conversations with both of those individuals.”

Kilpatrick is serving up to five years for violating probation in a 2008 criminal case that followed charges of perjuries for lies he told on the stand a year earlier during a civil lawsuit. Married, Kilpatrick denied having an affair with a top aide.

Text messages left on city-issued pagers contradicted his statements.

Kilpatrick told the AP that he will address the affair, its impact on his wife and three sons and how it all led to his resignation as mayor in “Surrendered! The Rise, Fall and Revelation of Kwame Kilpatrick.” The book is expected to be released Aug. 1.

“I lied on the stand about a relationship I had _ a romantic relationship,” Kilpatrick said. “One of the reasons I’m writing this book is I want to show how that was magnified and morphed into being something completely different than what it started as.

“Yes, I broke the law. Yes, I shouldn’t have done it. I’m overcome with sorrow from the hurt and pain that I’ve caused my wife and family by it. What happened after that was a snowball campaign into all types of things that are totally unrelated to me.”

In the roughly 30-minute conversation, Kilpatrick discussed life and violence behind bars.

“Since I’ve been here I’ve seen … people stomped to within an inch of their lives,” he said. “This shouldn’t be a place where people whimsically, politically send you to exercise some kind of point.”

Kilpatrick said he stays busy by reading and tutoring fellow inmates seeking GED diplomas.

“I’m a teacher at heart and so I’ve managed to channel that into engaging people in way that it makes them more productive,” he said.

He also said he works out, plays center on a prison basketball team and has dropped about 50 pounds from his six-foot-four-inch frame.

“I went from meeting with presidents and world leaders to sitting in the hole, being handcuffed taken to the shower,” Kilpatrick said. “And it was in that womb … that `Surrendered’ was born. It was an opportunity for me wanting to say `I’m sorry’ to myself and to all the people that I hurt, and then learn how to forgive myself enough so I can start fighting back to be the husband, the father and the man that I believe God wanted me to be.”

A Michigan parole board last month did not decide if Kilpatrick will be released when he’s eligible in late July. He also faces federal corruption charges.

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