December 3, 2008 at 3:32 pm

Worthy: Kilpatrick broke deal

Wayne County prosecutor seeks hearing to force ex-mayor to give up attempt to regain law license.

Kilpatrick )

DETROIT -- Kwame Kilpatrick has broken the deal he made to avoid trial in the text message scandal by attempting to undo the revocation of his law license, said Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.

Worthy has asked for a hearing next week before the Wayne Circuit Court judge who sent Kilpatrick to jail and required him to sign a letter that revoked his license. Judge David Groner ruled at Kilpatrick's Oct. 28 sentencing that his agreement to "surrender" his license meant revocation.

A petition filed Monday on the jailed former mayor's behalf with the state Attorney Discipline Board asked for the revocation to be set aside and a hearing held to determine the level of punishment Kilpatrick should suffer. The appeal is based on a claim that only the state's self-policing mechanism for lawyers can take an attorney's license, not a criminal court judge.

But just changing his license status from revoked to suspended could lead to Kilpatrick's request for restoration of his right to practice law within five years of probation, to which he agreed.

"This action constitutes not only a violation of the terms of his plea agreement but also violates the terms of his probation," Worthy wrote in a letter Tuesday to Philip Thomas, the lawyer handling Kilpatrick's law licensed appeal.

"We are seeking a hearing regarding the issue of revocation," said Worthy's spokeswoman, Maria Miller. "We are seeking a date of Dec. 12, but the date will be set by the judge."

Kilpatrick could face a lengthened jail sentence if Groner is convinced that Kilpatrick's appeal to the state's Attorney Discipline Board was a willful violation of probation.

Thomas said his client has done nothing wrong and the situation deserves to be reviewed.

Thomas added that he also has been told by Kilpatrick's criminal defense team that they are planning to file an appeal of his sentence with the Michigan Court of Appeals. Kilpatrick's other lawyers couldn't be reached on Tuesday. "What's the rush to judgment?" Thomas asked. "I would hope the Prosecutor's Office will sit back and ask, 'What if a mistake was made here?' Why not allow the defendant time to argue that his rights have been violated?"

Kilpatrick was charged with perjury, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and misconduct in office for lying under oath in a police whistle-blower lawsuit last year. His sentence called for 120 days in the Wayne County Jail and five years of probation, during which he is barred from holding public office. He also agreed to pay $1 million in restitution and "surrender" his law license when he pleaded guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice in September.

His co-defendant, former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty, was similarly charged and accepted a plea bargain Monday that called for 120 days in jail, five years of probation and $100,000 in restitution. She also agreed to not take law school classes while on probation..