Kwame Kilpatrick headed back to Detroit

Robert Snell
The Detroit News

Kwame Kilpatrick’s long-promised comeback is underway.

The former Detroit mayor will be brought from an Oklahoma prison to Detroit for a hearing Aug. 23 in federal court to determine how much restitution Kilpatrick should pay the city stemming from his 2013 City Hall corruption conviction. The hearing coincides with Kilpatrick’s renewed quest to have his 28-year prison sentence and conviction overturned, according to a court filing Monday.

The hearing will be the first public sighting of Detroit’s disgraced former mayor since he was convicted and sentenced in 2013 to one of the longest federal prison sentences for corruption in U.S. history.

Photo of Kwame Kilpatrick with attorney James Thomas leaving Federal Courthouse in Detroit on August 14, 2012.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds, who presided over Kilpatrick’s landmark, six-month trial, filed paperwork Monday ordering Kilpatrick to appear for a hearing.

Kilpatrick originally was ordered to pay $4,584,423 in restitution to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department but that amount was reduced by an appellate court. Prosecutors have argued the new restitution amount should be $1.6 million.

The notice comes four weeks after Kilpatrick, 47, asked the judge to vacate his racketeering conviction and set aside a 28-year prison sentence, saying there was no corruption during his scandal-plagued tenure.

Kilpatrick, who has 20 years remaining on his public corruption sentence, made the request 13 months after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his appeal.

Kilpatrick is serving the sentence at a federal prison in El Reno, Oklahoma, and is representing himself. The disgraced mayor, whose lavish lifestyle and expenses drew attention and scrutiny, says he is destitute and has 96 cents in his prison bank account.

Kilpatrick recently filed paperwork in federal court alleging he tried to beat up his lawyer during a pre-trial dispute.

Kilpatrick’s quest for freedom is largely a rehash of arguments rejected by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals but includes a new wrinkle.

Kilpatrick argues he never committed extortion, bribery or racketeering and that his conduct did not constitute an official act.

“At trial, several of (my) subordinates testified that he may have asked them to attend a meeting or make a phone call,” Kilpatrick wrote. “Not a single one of (my) subordinates gave testimony that (I) expected them to do anything other than that.”

The request appears pegged to new case law since Kilpatrick’s conviction was based on “official acts,” Henning said. If Kilpatrick is successful in getting convictions tossed for those crimes, he could receive a lesser sentence, Henning said.

Kilpatrick repeated some of the same failed arguments, including that the judge erred by denying his request for a new taxpayer-funded defense lawyer. Kilpatrick’s previous appeal was based, in part, on the claim his lawyer, James C. Thomas, had a conflict of interest.

Kilpatrick also attacked testimony from federal agents, saying the testimony included “lay opinions.”

Kilpatrick resigned as mayor in 2008, promising residents they had “set me up for a comeback.”

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