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Appeals court upholds corruption conviction, 28-year sentence for Detroit's ex-mayor


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ED WHITE Associated Press

August 14, 2015


DETROIT — An appeals court on Friday upheld the corruption conviction and 28-year prison sentence of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who was found guilty of two dozen crimes from tax evasion to bribery.


Kilpatrick's appeal centered on an alleged conflict among his trial attorneys, among other very technical reasons. But a three-judge panel at the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found no reason to upset the outcome, although a $4.5 million restitution order was set aside and must be recalculated. "We are gratified that the jury's verdict has been upheld and believe that the decision is thorough and well-reasoned," the U.S. Attorney's Office said.


After months of trial, a jury in 2013 found that Kilpatrick rigged contracts, took bribes and committed other corrupt acts, often with contractor Bobby Ferguson, who got lucrative city work. The government called it the "Kilpatrick enterprise," a scheme to shake down contractors and reward allies. Kilpatrick was doomed by his own text messages, which revealed efforts to fix deals for Ferguson, an excavator.


In his appeal, Kilpatrick said his defense was tainted because his attorney, James Thomas, had earlier represented a prosecution witness. Thomas was also affiliated with a law firm that was representing Macomb County in a civil lawsuit against Detroit.



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