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Tuesday, June 11, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Former Detroit Mayor Convicted of Corruption

(CN) - Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted Monday of extortion, racketeering conspiracy and 22 other charges at the end of his five-month corruption trial.

Prosecutors said Kilpatrick, 42, used his office as a "private profit machine," reaping $840,000 beyond his mayoral salary from bribes, kickbacks and cuts of political donations, according to wire services.

The trial judge said jurors reached a consensus in 40 of the 45 charges against Kilpatrick and his co-defendants, including his father, Bernard, and city contractor Bobby Ferguson, who faced 11 counts.

Jurors found the former mayor guilty of 24 charges, not guilty on three, and failed to reach a consensus on the remaining three counts.

The racketeering conspiracy and extortion convictions each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years behind bars.

Ferguson was found guilty of racketeering conspiracy, bribery and extortion, among other charges. Kilpatrick's father, Bernard Kilpatrick, was convicted of submitting a false tax return.

Kilpatrick was elected mayor in 2001 at age 31, but resigned in 2008 after being accused of trying to cover up an extramarital affair with his then-chief of staff.

He pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in that case and served 14 months in prison for violating probation.

"The scale of corruption was breathtaking," Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow said in a closing argument in February, according to the Associated Press. "We cannot turn away and ignore the corruption that occurred in this city. It is time for the former mayor and his accomplices to be held accountable for their crimes -- it is past time."

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