Kilpatrick appeals to Trump for freedom
As Kwame Kilpatrick adjusts to yet another new prison, the former Detroit mayor is seeking to shorten his stay and return home.
The disgraced former Detroit leader and ex-lawyer has filed for a commutation of his federal prison sentence, which has nearly 19 years left, United States Department of Justice records show.
In a lengthy message posted Tuesday on the Free Kwame Project website, Kilpatrick wrote that he was “ready (mentally, emotionally, spiritually) to go home” and “By God’s grace, I have received a pardon from Him, through Christ Jesus."
Now, with the help of President Donald Trump, who has been flexing his pardon powers lately, Kilpatrick has reached out to ask for a commutation of his sentence.
"I pray that I will receive the opportunity for Pardon/Clemency from the President of the United States as well,” he said on the website.
Kilpatrick’s family, which has launched a campaign to free him, complete with a song, has been pushing Trump to grant a pardon.
It is possible his request originated during the presidency of Barack Obama, whom online supporters in 2016 asked for a commutation.
It wasn’t immediately clear Tuesday when the request was registered. Kilpatrick's application was pending before the Office of the Pardon Attorney.
According to the DOJ, if the current president doesn't make a decision on the request, the petition remains pending for the successor. A petitioner does not need to submit a new petition.
Kilpatrick, 47, is serving a 28-year racketeering conspiracy sentence for what federal prosecutors said turned City Hall into a criminal enterprise and steered rigged water and sewer contracts to longtime friend Bobby Ferguson. Kilpatrick is scheduled to be released in August 2037.
This month, he was transferred after more than four years from a medium-security prison in Oklahoma to a low-security lockup in Fort Dix, New Jersey, where cellmates include "Pharma bro" Martin Shkreli, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
In the online post Tuesday titled “Ready For the Second-Half.. It’s Time,” Kilpatrick acknowledged his lengthy incarceration “has been the most painful, gut-wrenching, and transformational time, not only my life, but also in the lives of everyone that I hold dear. … I have missed important moments in my sons lives; puberty, graduations, college entrance, basketball and football games, awards, and even the most important moments when they need their father’s counsel, presence and love. I destroyed my marriage…”
After growing frustrated fighting to prove his innocence from behind bars, Kilpatrick said that he eventually turned to more spiritual matters.
“I counsel, mentor, tutor, and help men in many different areas; family, manhood, education, following Christ, and even taking responsibility for our sin, facing our wrongs…then repent, and bear fruit from that repentance,” the message readon the Free Kwame Project website.
“I’ve also taken every single program that I was allowed to take; from receiving my certification in Culinary Arts (9-month Course), to every Manhood Development, Parenting, and Character Development Program offered in the institution. I was blessed to be given a teaching position in the Education Department for instruction in Public Speaking and Employability Skills. I also teach bible studies, and am Worship Leader for our church services. I was born to be a servant…and that I will do wherever I am.”
Staff Writer Melissa Nann Burke contributed