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Ex-Detroit mayor guilty, to await sentence in prison

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By Detroit Free Press
Monday, March 11, 2013, 7:42 p.m.
 

DETROIT — A jury concluded on Monday that former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick ran a criminal enterprise — complete with extortion, bribes and kickbacks — while he was the mayor of Michigan's largest city, and a federal judge ordered him to be put behind bars immediately.

The panel convicted him and contractor friend Bobby Ferguson of running a racket out of the mayor's office for years to enrich themselves, and the judge said they both will be detained while awaiting sentencing. In some cases, longtime friends testified they handed cash to Kilpatrick in envelopes.

Kilpatrick was convicted on 24 of 30 counts, including five counts of extortion, racketeering, bribery and several mail, wire and tax fraud charges during a five-month trial in which he was portrayed as an unscrupulous politician who took bribes, rigged contracts and lived far beyond his means.

The convictions ensure a return to prison long term for a Democrat once among the nation's youngest big-city leaders until he resigned in fall 2008. Each defendant could spend up to 20 years in prison.

The ex-mayor's father, Bernard Kilpatrick, was convicted on one count of filing a false tax return, but jurors acquitted him attempted extortion and another tax charge and deadlocked a racketeering charge. He will remain free on bond.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds said the jury reached unanimous agreement on Friday on 40 of the 45 counts but wanted a chance to reflect further during the weekend.

Witnesses told of Kwame Kilpatrick's lavish lifestyle — luxury vacations, custom suits and golf outings — despite being at the helm of a city so broke it was on the verge of a state-appointed manager to right its finances. Internal Revenue Service agents said Kwame Kilpatrick spent $840,000 beyond his mayoral salary.

The verdict is another defeat for the man who left office in 2008 amid an unrelated scandal involving sexually explicit text messages and an affair with an aide.

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