After five months of sitting in court while federal prosecutors aired their case against him, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is waiting for a jury to decide his fate.
But in the meantime, Kilpatrick has been active on both social media sites Facebook and Twitter using the outlets as a form of inexpensive PR to restore his image as a God-fearing family man. Posting multiple pictures of his family along with praise of his loved ones and self-help quips, Kilpatrick is focusing on the positive—his family and God—and decrying the haters.
He posts regular inspirational nuggets for his Twitter followers:
“No Doubt! Sometimes through pain, darkness, tight spaces, u are pushed to rebirth. Just like the womb Bro! Blessings to u!” And: Guy just asked if "I was mad at everybody." No Sir! When I finally forgave myself, I knew I couldn't harbor unforgiveness of others. #newlife."
Kilpatrick, his father Bernard, and longtime contractor friend Bobby Ferguson face dozens of federal charges including extortion, bribery, conspiracy and tax fraud. The defendants pleaded not guilty and defense attorneys worked throughout the trial to argue that Kilpatrick and his co-defendants did nothing illegal, often hammering out the difference between law and ethics. During the trial, Kilpatrick was forced to sit through some of his closest confidants testifying against him in exchange for a plea deal.
Kilpatrick has made his facebook fan page a way to share his methods of getting through touch times:
“The thing that usually devours, now feeds u. The thing that tried to kill u, is now your stepping stone for new life. #digthat.”
Kilpatrick seeks to reclaim an image he had has a family man before the years he's spent in the spotlight amid scandal.
“My Family is Awesome! Through hell & high water, by grace, we have survived & even spiritually prospered. #footstool.” “Hello Family! Just wanted to thank you for your support, words of encouragement and prayers. I also want you to know that Joy is not a feeling, its a fruit of the Spirit. And by God's grace, I still have mine. Much Love Family!"
“Jonas just informed me that he'd earned an all "A" report card. He also told me that Cornell Univ was "back on the table." #mydude #blessed
Kilpatrick also has taken some chances to lash out at negative postings about him. He Tweets in response to his critics:
“What stealing money? Maybe, just maybe u are ignorant & misinformed. Forget supremacy 4 a moment. What makes u right?”
And: “Ppl hve been told 2 hate me for yrs. "It would be better when I left.' Hell followed my exit. Hate reigned."
Ultimately, Kilpatrick's advice to the world, and himself, is: “Don't pray and doubt. Its all in God's hands. Thankfully not the Media’s.”
The fast-talking, no-nonsense U.S. attorney leading the prosecution team in the Kwame Kilpatrick corruption trial may seem severe in the courtroom, but R. Michael Bullotta has a softer side.
The 45-year-old federal agent is no stranger to corruption cases, with 15 years as a federal prosecutor under his belt and many additional years of law enforcement experience before that. In the courtroom he is aggressive, quick to object when the defense brings up something he feels is inappropriate.
But behind his rectangular wire-framed glasses, his dark suits and a direct tone, Bullotta is actually a creative writer with a knack for charities and a streak of empathy for young criminals.
In fact, he wrote the book Hard Core, fast-paced crime thriller gangs in L.A that was published last fall.
The novel is heavily based on Bullotta’s experiences as a gang prosecutor in the Hard Core Gang Division of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office.
Online reader reviews have been mostly positive so far on sites like Amazon.com where his works been compared to that of John Grisham, Joseph Wambaugh and Mary Higgins Clark.
On Bullotta’s Facebook fan page (yes, he has one) Bullotta he says he pledged a generous donation of the proceeds from book sales to The Forgotten Harvest, a non-profit with a mission torelieve hunger in metro Detroit by rescuing surplus, prepared and perishable food and donating it to emergency food providers.
In the Amazon.com book preview, the tone of the novel seems like a campy, crime trhriller novel version of the HBO series The Wire. An excerpt from the book’s opening chapter shows Bulotta seeking to empathize with a young Latino gangbanger in L.A.
“He wished that his mother had hit him, or at least battered his soul. Maybe then he wouldn’t feel like this. He’d be just another young Latino fallen victim to L.A.’s violent culture. He too could claim that he had resorted to gang banging in order to survive in a jungle of lovelessness and death.”
Bullotta also writes in a postive way about witness cooperation, a hot topic recently as witnesses with immunity deals take the stand in the Kilpatrick trial this week.
“It was clear to him as he looked straight through the grassy canyon that is was time to make it up to her. He was going to “flip and cooperate” as his friend and detective put it. His homies would call him “buster,” or coward and it would be a matter of neighborhood pride to smoke him for disrespecting his set. But he truly believed that going legit was the only thing that would make her proud.”
In court, it’s nearly impossible to picture Bullotta using the word, “homie” or “busta” but this is one instance where we can’t judge a book by its cover.
Minni's Morning Coffee: He's Making Me Look Bad:Kilpatrick, Drama, and Black Shame
Somewhere between hard news and nail-biting entertainment, there lies a blurry meshing point: It's there that you will find something called infotainment, a phrase coined in the 1980s that’s perhaps is more relevant today.
This is the age of Google, Reddit and Twitter. News media outlets are increasingly lodged at the mercy of clicks, readership and view numbers than ever before.
And while infotainment is arguably harmless and, in some cases, the only way to get a modern-fasted paced audience to pay attention, it’s a slippery slope.
We’re all guilty of falling for the infotainment trap. Whether it’s a psycho shooter in Colorado, a crazed gunman in West Bloomfield, or the high-profile trial of an infamous ex-mayor, we want to be the first to know.
Why? It’s a train wreck effect, so to speak: Just try to tune out of the sexy, fast paced coverage of the Kwame Kilpatrick corruption trail. Try to focus, instead, on the Detroit Works Project’s large-scale plans to re-zone and redistribute resources to Detroit residents.
Click back to the Kilptarick trial. Wait, that juror said WHAT? OMG, time to follow the Kwame Trail on my Smartphone. And yes, there’s an app for that.
So why do I feel something turn in my stomach whenever I get a glimpse of the Kilpatrick trial coverage? It’s not the infotainment aspect. I love a good news drama, I am a political blogger, hello. And it's not that I think Kilpatrick's actual trial is unjust, but, there’s something different about this.
But it wasn’t until I gave it some serious thought that I figured out what irked me: I’m black. Kilpatrick is black. He’s up there making me look bad, making my sister look bad, making my baby nephew look bad, making some black Joe Shmo in Nigeria look bad. Let’s not forget whose world we live in. Another black man on trial. Another infamous black crook going down in flames to the I-told-you-so of the majority. Oy.
Maybe it’s just in my head. Or it could be that I’m too caught up in my blackness. But as I click on the images chosen again and again for the Kilpatrick trial coverage, I see a black man frozen for eternity with a stupid frown being referred to by is first name even in cases where AP style calls for a surname.
I can’t look away, but I think I just hurled in my mouth a little bit.
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