Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick likely will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn his public corruption conviction and 28-year prison sentence, his lawyer said Thursday.

A Supreme Court appeal is Kilpatrick’s last legal hope — and a longshot — after a panel of 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges Wednesday refused Kilpatrick’s bid to have the full court hear his appeal of a public corruption conviction and 28-year prison sentence.

“I anticipate filing an appeal with the Supreme Court,” defense lawyer Harold Gurewitz said Thursday. “Realistically, I know that the court only accepts a small number of cases and only a small percentage of those are criminal.”

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Wednesday also refused to reconsider Kilpatrick’s appeal. The move comes two months after the panel upheld his racketeering conspiracy conviction.

“The original panel has reviewed the petition for rehearing and concludes that the issues raised in the petition were fully considered upon the original submission and decision of the case,” Judges Richard A. Griffin, Eugene Siler Jr. and Helene White wrote.

Kilpatrick, however, can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The decision is the latest setback for Kilpatrick, who was sentenced to 28 years in prison for running a criminal racket out of City Hall, one of the longest corruption sentences in U.S. history. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also affirmed the conviction of contractor Bobby Ferguson, who was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison.

The opinion comes seven months after Kilpatrick, 45, argued his trial counsel had a conflict of interest and that jurors should not have heard opinion testimony from federal agents during the trial.

“I believe these issues are clearly meritorious,” Gurewitz said.

Kilpatrick wanted to vacate his corruption conviction and get a new trial in Detroit.

Kilpatrick scored a minor victory in August. The judges vacated the $4.5 million restitution Kilpatrick was ordered to pay the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, saying the figure was incorrectly calculated.

The restitution issue was sent back to U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds in Detroit.

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