- Associated Press - Thursday, May 29, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - A high school pal whose testimony helped convict former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of corruption was sentenced Thursday to a year in a halfway house, a major break as a reward for his vital cooperation.

Derrick Miller’s sentence ends the case of the “Kilpatrick Enterprise,” as prosecutors called it, years of pay-to-play corruption while Detroit was careening toward bankruptcy.

Miller went to high school with Kilpatrick and was his right-hand man, first in the Legislature and then at city hall following the 2001 election. But they went separate ways when both were charged with crimes.

Miller pleaded guilty in 2011 to accepting $115,000 from a real estate broker in connection with the lease or sale of city properties. He also accepted $10,000 from a contractor at Cobo Center, a convention hall, and passed money to Kilpatrick in a restaurant bathroom.

Miller described it all during five days of extraordinary testimony at Kilpatrick’s trial. The ex-mayor, who was best man at Miller’s wedding, is serving a 28-year prison sentence. He resigned in 2008.

“It is fair to say your testimony, more than any other factor, brought the case together for the jury to see what was going on, how it was going on and why,” said U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds, who praised Miller for “tremendous courage.”

Miller said he appreciated the “love and forgiveness” of friends, family and Detroit residents.

Prosecutors agreed that Miller deserved a break, but they still had requested a 40-month prison sentence.

“Public officials should take note that early and extraordinary cooperation will yield a substantially lower sentence,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said after the hearing.