Kwame Kilpatrick (The Detroit News)
Disgraced former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years Thursday for a reign of corruption that weakened the city and damaged faith in public officials.
Kilpatrick, 43, who did not testify during his five-month corruption trial, appeared in federal court Thursday after being found in guilty earlier this year on 24 counts, including racketeering, extortion, bribery and tax evasion. His friend and co-defendant Bobby Ferguson, 44, was found guilty of nine crimes, including racketeering, extortion and bribery, and will be sentenced Friday.
Kilpatrick addressed the court ahead of his sentencing on charges of corruption Thursday, saying: “I humbly and respectfully ask for a fair sentence.” Later adding, "I really messed up."
During sentencing, U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds said Kilpatrick "chose to waste his talents on personal aggrandizement and enrichment when he had potential to do so much for the city."
The sentencing caps one of the country’s largest public corruption cases and follows the corruption convictions of at least 18 city officials and 16 private individuals.
On Thursday, prosecutors and defense attorneys haggled over the estimated $9.6 million in profits reaped by Kilpatrick and Ferguson in their racketeering scheme. After hearing roughly 20 minutes of arguments on that key point, Edmunds set a conservative estimate of $4.6 million for sentencing purposes.
The former mayor arrived in the courtroom just after 10 a.m., handcuffed and in khaki prison attire. During the early portion of the hearing, he appeared subdued, sitting with his elbows on the defense table as his attorneys argued he should receive no more than 15 years.
Many family members, many of whom sat through large portions of his trial, were not on hand, including wife, Carlita, and his parents, Bernard and Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick.