DETROIT (CN) – Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick today was charged with eight felonies, including authorizing the city to settle an $8.4 million lawsuit filed by police officers “with the corrupt motive” of preventing the release of text messages that would show he lied under oath. Kilpatrick’s longtime aide Christine Beatty, his partner in the romantic messages at the heart of the case, also faces multiple felony charges. If convicted, Kilpatrick could face up to 80 years in prison.
Kilpatrick – and Detroit – have been embroiled in scandal since January, when the Detroit Free Press published text messages between Kilpatrick and Beatty that indicate both of them lied under oath during a civil trial. Detroit police officers said Kilpatrick forced them out of their jobs after their investigations uncovered his romance. Both Kilpatrick and Beatty are married.
The two officials denied during the trial that they were romantically involved. Kilpatrick also testified that one of the plaintiff officers, Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown, had not been fired, but the mayor allegedly sent a text message to Beatty referring to their decision “to fire Gary Brown.”
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, who filed the charges, said today that her investigation was not directed at “lying about sex,” but upon the police officers whose careers were ruined and reputations destroyed.
“This investigation is about whether public dollars were used unlawfully,” Worthy said.
The Detroit City Council last week asked Kilpatrick to resign, but he refused. Today’s charges, which include obstruction of justice, conspiracy, perjury and misconduct in office, further complicate the future for the two-term mayor who was first elected in 2001, when he was 30 years old.