- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
Detroit’s former mayor faces corruption trial
Question of the Day
DETROIT — After a last-ditch effort to move the case out of Detroit failed, former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is returning to court for the start of a corruption trial that will last months and could land him in prison for more than 10 years.
Kilpatrick, who was forced out of office in a different scandal in 2008, is accused of collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, kickbacks and other favors. His father, Bernard, is a co-defendant in yet another sordid turn for what once was one of Detroit’s most powerful political families.
The 100-page indictment describes Kwame Kilpatrick muscling contractors, rewarding pals and repeatedly reaping illegal benefits — cash, travel, golf, even yoga — while running an ailing city that struggled more than most during the economic downturn.
Opening statements are set for Friday after U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds rejected a request by defense lawyers to move the trial to another city.
“What is extraordinary here is just the volume of evidence, the breadth of the indictment,” said David Steingold, a defense attorney not involved in the case. “I can’t speak to it, but it looks as though they’re just trying to overwhelm Mr. Kilpatrick. They’re trying to throw so much mud at him.”
The charges against him are racketeering conspiracy, extortion, bribery, fraud, false tax returns and tax evasion.
“Was I corrupt? Absolutely not,” Kilpatrick told reporters in August. He now lives in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Besides the Kilpatricks, construction contractor Bobby Ferguson and ex-Detroit water boss Victor Mercado are on trial.
This isn’t Kilpatrick’s first brush with the law. He served a 14-month prison term for a probation violation related to a 2008 conviction for lying from the witness stand about an extramarital affair, a relationship that was revealed in sexually explicit text messages.
At least 10 people who have pleaded guilty in the investigation are on the government’s witness list, including former Deputy Mayor Kandia Milton, former executive assistant DeDan Milton and former chief administrative officer Derrick Miller.
Outside the downtown courthouse, the city Kilpatrick left behind seems to be in a perpetual crisis.
Detroit’s population has fallen significantly. An emergency manager has taken control of the public schools. Police officers work 12-hour shifts and have been hit with salary cutbacks.
The current mayor, Dave Bing, said he doesn’t have much interest in the trial.
“I don’t have time for that,” he said last week while celebrating the rebirth of the city’s century-old aquarium.
TWT Video Picks
By Michael Widlanski
Leveling the battlefield to aid terrorists enables evil to fight on
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Cutler wins endorsement from gun control group
- 'Straight White Guy Festival' supposedly set for Ohio park
- HUSAIN: Fleeing Iraqi Christians find safe haven at the Shrine of Imam Ali
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq