Bernard Kilpatrick (The Detroit News)
Detroit— Bernard Kilpatrick should be sentenced to probation or a short prison term for his conviction in the City Hall corruption case, his lawyer said Tuesday.
“Bernard Kilpatrick stands convicted of a single tax offense. It is a felony, and it is serious, but it is his only conviction in his 72 years and as noted by the Probation Department it is in a relatively low amount that can be repaid,” defense lawyer John Shea wrote in a sentencing memo Tuesday.
“It would be reasonable and consistent with a sentence that is ‘sufficient but not greater than necessary’ to sentence defendant to a term of probation, with whatever special conditions the court finds appropriate, or a minimal term of incarceration.”
In the 21-page memo, Shea portrays Bernard Kilpatrick as a family man and “pillar of support” for ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s three children as they coped with the government’s years-long investigation of their father.
The memo also shed light on Bernard Kilpatrick’s whereabouts since the jury returned its verdict in March.
“In more recent months, he has been on site with and actively assisting his daughter-in-law and his daughter, both in Texas, in caring for their children as they have struggled with employment, housing and schools during these tumultuous times,” Shea wrote.
The request comes two days before Bernard Kilpatrick is sentenced in federal court. Prosecutors want him to spend 27 to 33 months in prison.
Last week, contractor Bobby Ferguson was sentenced to 21 years in prison and Kwame Kilpatrick got 28 years.
Bernard Kilpatrick conspired with his son and Ferguson to exploit city contracts and persuaded contractors to pay him for access to the former mayor, pocketing $1.3 million for mostly no-show work, prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo. He also deposited more than $605,000 in the bank during his son’s reign even though he had no other source of income and was a bad gambler, prosecutors said.
Shea said there was nothing improper about Bernard Kilpatrick consulting with contractors who pursued city deals.
The City Hall corruption jury found Bernard Kilpatrick guilty of one count of filing a false tax return, though it could not reach a unanimous verdict on racketeering conspiracy, a 20-year felony.
The tax charge is punishable by up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He also should pay $98,262 restitution to the Internal Revenue Service, prosecutors wrote.