The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

March 11, 2013

Jury convicts ex-Detroit mayor of corruption

— DETROIT (AP) — Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted Monday of corruption charges, ensuring a return to prison for a man once among the nation's youngest big-city leaders.

Jurors convicted Kilpatrick of a raft of crimes, including racketeering conspiracy, which carries a maximum punishment of 20 years behind bars. He was portrayed during a five-month trial as an unscrupulous politician who took bribes, rigged contracts and lived far beyond his means while in office until fall 2008.

Kilpatrick wore a surprised, puzzled look at times as U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds read the jury's verdict: guilty of 24 charges, not guilty on three and no consensus on three more. Kilpatrick declined to speak to reporters as he left the courthouse.

Prosecutors said Kilpatrick ran a "private profit machine" out of Detroit's City Hall. The government presented evidence to show he got a share of the spoils after ensuring that Bobby Ferguson's excavating company was awarded millions in work from the water department.

Business owners said they were forced to hire Ferguson as a subcontractor or risk losing city contracts. Separately, fundraiser Emma Bell said she gave Kilpatrick more than $200,000 as his personal cut of political donations, pulling cash from her bra during private meetings. A high-ranking aide, Derrick Miller, told jurors that he often was the middle man, passing bribes from others.

Internal Revenue Service agents said Kilpatrick spent $840,000 beyond his mayoral salary.

Ferguson, Kilpatrick's pal, was also convicted of racketeering conspiracy. The jury could not reach a verdict on the same charge for Kilpatrick's father, Bernard Kilpatrick, but convicted him of submitting a false tax return.

The judge said the jury finished its work Friday but wanted to go home for the weekend before announcing the results Monday.

"They said they wanted to sleep on it. ... I had a sense of what the verdict was," Edmunds told reporters.

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