Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his longtime friend and city contractor Bobby Ferguson will spend the night in jail until their sentencing which could be decided in four months.
Both men, in front of their families and friends, were handcuffed by federal marshals in federal court this afternoon and whisked away to jail even as Kilpatrick asked to hug his family but was rejected.
Federal prosecutors, acting on the guilty verdict on charges of racketeering, extortion and tax evasion that a jury handed down today against Kilpatrick, Ferguson and Bernard Kilpatrick, wanted all three men to be remanded to prison immediately.
During a hearing this afternoon before Federal Judge Nancy Edmunds, prosecutor Michael Bullota, one of the assistant U.S. Attorneys who prosecuted the case, argued that given Kilpatrick’s history of violating court orders in state court, he should be remanded to prison now.
Bullota said Kilpatrick during his initial legal troubles in state court when Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy was prosecuting the former mayor, Kilpatrick on a number of occasions did not live up to the orders that Wayne County Circuit Judge David Groner gave.
At one point Bullota said Kilpatrick lied to the state court about only having $6 to pay back restitution when federal investigators later discovered during their investigation that hundreds of thousands of dollars were going through his bank accounts during that same time he was battling charges from the Wayne County Prosecutor.
He also cited Kilpatrick’s most recent case with his parole officers where he’s been found to have violated his parole orders numerous times. Some of the violations included not reporting large amount of cash that had been given to him.
Kilpatrick’s lawyer, James Thomas, tried to convince Judge Edmonds that Kilpatrick should be allowed to be free until his sentencing because he is a father and husband who has gone for four months without seeing his wife and children who now live in Texas.
Thomas tried to sway the court that if Kilpatrick had access to large sums of cash as the prosecution intimated, he would have been in contact more frequently with his family.
Even though Thomas admitted that Kilpatrick did run afoul of the orders of the lower court – Wayne County Circuit Court – he was before a judge (David Groner) who “publicized what he was going to do” with the former mayor.
Kilpatrick is not a flight risk or danger to the community, Thomas said, adding that his client, since the federal trial began, hasn’t missed a court date and did not violate any orders in federal court.
“All this is an opportunity for the government to impose a penalty that’s not yet decided by the court,” Thomas said. Ferguson’s attorney, Gerald Evelyn, also made similar defense for his client though the prosecution cited Ferguson’s past brushes with the law and history of intimidating witnesses as well as his access to large amounts of cash.
After a five-minute break during the hearing, Judge Edmunds returned with a verdict that both Kilpatrick and Ferguson be taken into custody immediately. There were outbursts in the court as some members of the Kilpatrick and the Ferguson families began sobbing while federal marshals ordered both men to take their ties and suits off, including their watches and other times.
Kilpatrick and Ferguson were asked to turn around, giving their backs to their families as the marshals handcuffed them.
Kilpatrick looked scared but Ferguson was smiling and appeared to be in high spirits. When Kilpatrick asked to hug his family, including his mother, former congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick who was sitting in court watching his son, one of the marshals said no and the former mayor looked disappointed.
As Kilpatrick was being taken away he turned around and looked at his mother and said in a loud voice, “No doubt no fear,” a consolation to weeping members. The former mayor’s father, Bernard Kilpatrick, was not remanded.
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