- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 9, 2008

DETROIT | The legal woes worsened Friday for embattled Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick as he was charged with two felony assault counts amid new cries for his resignation from political and civic leaders.

No sooner was the mayor released from jail Friday morning after spending the night for violating terms of his bond in a separate case by traveling to Canada, than State Attorney Mike Cox announced the new felony charges stemming from a July altercation with police investigators.

The two assault counts say the mayor shoved the investigators as they tried to serve a subpoena against two Kilpatrick friends in the other case - a corruption and adultery probe centering on a police whistleblower settlement.

“Here we have police officers trying to serve a witness where the mayor injected himself,” Mr. Cox said at a Lansing press conference Friday in announcing the assault charges. “We are going to ask that the mayor not have any contact with witnesses in this case. In my almost 20 years, first as a prosecutor and now as an attorney general … I cannot recall ever seeing, let alone hearing of, a situation where a police officer trying to serve a subpoena was assaulted.”

The two new felony charges carry a maximum penalty of two years in prison or a fine of $2,000. Mr. Kilpatrick, a Democrat once considered one of the party’s rising stars, now faces 10 felony counts in all.

Mr. Kilpatrick pleaded not guilty to the new charges at an arraignment Friday in Wayne County jail and was freed on a $25,000 bond.

The mayor’s attorney Jim Thomas said he plans to fight the assault charges, noting that “it’s an allegation. Let’s take it step by step.”

The mayor faces arraignment Thursday on eight counts of perjury and misconduct over his role in negotiating an $.8.4 million settlement with three Detroit police officers. The case took on a salacious tone and sparked outrage when text messages made public by a local newspaper between the mayor, a married father of three, and his former chief of staff, who is also facing felony charges, contradicted their claims under oath that they were not romantically involved.

Mr. Kilpatrick acknowledged violating the terms of his bond in that case, which required that he not leave the state, by going across the Detroit River to Windsor, Ontario, to discuss the sale of an international tunnel.

Despite the violation, Wayne County Circuit Judge Thomas Jackson reversed a lower court’s order to jail Mr. Kilpatrick order, saying the mayor should get a chance to post bond again in the perjury case.

“I do not think the answer … should be a complete and total remand” to jail, Judge Jackson wrote.

Mr. Kilpatrick met that $50,000 bond Friday, paving the way for his release, though Judge Jackson ordered that he wear an electronic tether and limit his travel to the Detroit metro area - Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

Nor are legal charges the mayor’s only woes.

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced Thursday night that she would preside over a hearing Sept. 3 to remove Mr. Kilpatrick from office. The governor, using a rarely used state law, was asked to intervene after the Detroit City Council voted for Mr. Kilpatrick’s ouster and he refused to leave. The council will hold forfeiture hearings starting Aug. 18.

Detroit City Council member Kwame Kenyatta, an outspoken critic of the mayor’s conduct, said in a statement Friday that Mr. Kilpatrick was “dismantling the city piece by agonizingly painful piece.”

Rep. John D. Dingell, who represents suburban Detroit and is the state’s senior U.S. lawmaker, said Friday that “the state of affairs is clearly hurting the business of our community.”

The two-term mayor, 38, has apologized to the city and his family but has steadfastly refused to resign, even as an increasing number of lawmakers and business leaders have said he can no longer effectively lead the nation’s 11th-largest city, which has struggled economically over the past several years.

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