- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Murder. Corruption. Race-baiting. Cover-ups. Civil lawsuits. Adultery. Perjury. Obstruction of justice. Missing police files. It’s potent fodder for a Hollywood movie (if only an updated remake of the Al Pacino-John Cusak “City Hall). For Detroiters, however, it’s just the beginning of the salacious scandal swirling around Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, whose mother, Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick, is chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Mr. Kilpatrick earlier this month conceded being with a woman not his wife and vowed not to step down, despite urgings from the legislature (which voted for him to step down), pressure from the state governor and, most important, constant calls from the people who have twice elected him. The adulterous concession did little to restore his standing as mayor; Mr. Kilpatrick, 37, remains shrouded in criminal wrongdoing. Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy announced yesterday a 12-count indictment that charges Mr. Kilpatrick and his former chief of staff, Christine Beatty (his former lover) with perjury and obstruction of justice, among other charges. Mr. Kilpatrick said afterward that he looks forward to being vindicated and moving forward by conducting the city’s business.

But can he? Can Mr. Kilpatrick move forward? Can he judiciously conduct the people’s business in an atmosphere that he himself has tainted with the “N” word?

Mr. Kilpatrick is in the untenable position of having lost the confidence of both local lawmakers and his own constituents.

The unfolding drama in Detroit began with the murder in 2003 of an exotic dancer (a murder that remains unsolved), a whistle-blowing trial in 2005 (when police talked cover-up) and testimony in 2007 from Mr. Kilpatrick and Ms. Beatty, both of whom denied the affair under oath. From there, the indictment and the Hollywood script take over.

None of this bodes well for Mr. Kilpatrick, whether he stays or goes. As for Detroiters, the scandal is either a harbinger or a blessing in disguise.

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