By Corey Williams
DETROIT–Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to up to five years in prison last Tuesday for violating the terms of his probation stemming from his conviction for lying under oath about an affair with his chief of staff.
Kilpatrick, 39, asked Judge David Groner to show him compassion during the hearing, but Groner said “that ship has sailed.”
Groner said Kilpatrick would have to serve at least one-and-a-half years in prison. He is still obligated to pay back the remaining balance of his $1 million debt to the city of Detroit.
Kilpatrick, the father of three young sons, was led from the courtroom in handcuffs.
Shortly after the sentencing, Compuware Corp. said that Kilpatrick was being fired from his job as a medical software salesman for its Dallas-based subsidiary, Covisint.
Groner ruled last month that Kilpatrick failed to report all of his assets and meet other conditions of his probation. In court Tuesday, Groner scolded Kilpatrick for his continued lack of candor about his finances.
“Your continued attempt to cast yourself as the victim, your lack of forthrightness, your lack of contriteness and lack of humility … clearly rehabilitation has failed,” Groner told Kilpatrick after the former mayor spent about 15 minutes explaining why he should be allowed to return to his family in Dallas.
“I want to go home your honor, where I belong,” Kilpatrick told Groner. “I’m not here because of a gun charge, or a drug charge. I’m here because of my confusion over some of the written orders that have been before me.”
At issue is the restitution Kilpatrick was ordered to pay the city after he pleaded guilty in 2008 to obstruction of justice. Kilpatrick testified in a whistle-blowers’ lawsuit that he was not romantically involved with his chief of staff, but text messages between the two later showed he was lying. Before the text message scandal broke, the city paid the two whistle blowers an $8.4 million settlement.
Kilpatrick, a Democrat, resigned, served 99 days in jail, agreed to give up his law license, repay the city $1 million, and stay out of politics for five years.
After Groner announced the sentence, a loud, collective gasp rose from many of Kilpatrick’s supporters in the packed courtroom. Kilpatrick appeared shaken.
Kilpatrick has 42 days in which to file an appeal.
After he was released from jail in February 2009, Kilpatrick found a job with Covisint. Since then, he has said he is working on his marriage and trying to be a better father to his three sons. He also has been making $3,000 monthly payments to the city of Detroit, saying he hopes to repay everything he owes.
But prosecutors contend he continues to lie , that Kilpatrick could afford to give more and has intentionally hid assets.
Groner agreed, saying Kilpatrick failed to disclose $240,000 in loans from prominent businessmen. He also said Kilpatrick failed to surrender nearly $23,400 in tax refunds and a share of cash gifts from two people.