Kwame Kilpatrick: Marriage 'irreparably destroyed'

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Amid ongoing legal woes behind bars, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick until now had been quietly facing another challenge: divorce. 

In a message posted Wednesday on his Facebook page, The Freedom and Justice Trust, the ex-lawyer suggested that he and wife Carlita had ended their "irreparably destroyed" marriage.

Kilpatrick cited the starting point as Jan. 24, 2008, when his affair with chief of staff Christine Beatty became public and sparked a text messages scandal that forced him from office in 2008.

Carlita Kilpatrick, left, walks into Judge Ronald Giles' courtroom in Detroit with Kwame Kilpatrick in this August 12, 2008, file photo. In a message posted Wednesday, August 15, 2018, on his Facebook page, The Freedom and Justice Trust, Kwame Kilpatrick suggested that he and wife Carlita had ended their "irreparably destroyed" marriage.

“Certainly it languish and limp along for 10-years before the divorce was final...but the marriage was over that day,” he said in the post. “Even though I tried with all that I was able to give from my wounded, confused, and severely deformed soul...nothing would repair the breach of trust in my marriage.”

Reached Thursday night, Kilpatrick's lawyer, Harold Gurewitz, said he could not verify the divorce.

Canadian County, Oklahoma, court records show a divorce petition was filed Feb. 12 on Kilpatrick’s behalf. The filing said the couple, married since Sept. 9, 1995, had separated Jan. 24, 2015.

Carlita Kilpatrick acknowledged the document through Prince George's County, Maryland, where she was listed as living with the couple’s youngest son.

Judge Barbara Hatfield ordered the marriage dissolved on July 23. Her decree did not make any orders concerning custody, visitation or child support since the Canadian County district court lacked jurisdiction.

Kwame Kilpatrick had been incarcerated in El Reno, Oklahoma, which is in the county.

In 2013, he was convicted of 24 felony counts of using his positions as mayor and state representative to carry out a decade-long criminal racket involving extortion, bribery, conspiracy and fraud.

During a lengthy trial, prosecutors allege Kilpatrick headed a criminal enterprise out of the Detroit mayoral office and steered $84 million in city contracts to friend Bobby Ferguson, who shared the proceeds with Kilpatrick. 

He was sentenced to 28 years in prison. His release date is 2037, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons.

In his online message this week, Kilpatrick acknowledged “many things lost in the fiery trials of the past 10 years; my job, many relationships, and even genuine friendships.”

The Detroit native also reflected on the causes, writing: “The sin in my life gave wide open spaces within my marriage, my friendships, and my most treasured relationships for evil to creep in. Satan sifted me, us, like wheat. Some of the damage and destruction that I ultimately caused could not be restored or repaired.”

Kilpatrick went on to credit a newfound spiritual awakening.

“Today I am giving a victory report; I AM STILL HERE!” his message said. “Not here in bondage...but Free Indeed. Not condemned, but Redeemed. And certainly not depressed, but full of hope, faith, and love. Confidently Expecting to receive the next season in this abundant Life that I have received.”

His earthly troubles remain, though.

The 48-year-old was recently transferred  to a New Jersey facility. This month, a federal judge ordered him to pay $552,862 to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which claimed Kilpatrick was part of a scheme to strong-arm a city pension fund businessman for $125,000 worth of private flights, Prince concert tickets, steakhouse dinners, golf trips and VIP hotel rooms in Las Vegas.

The order from U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts raised Kilpatrick's debt to more than $11.5 million, which includes taxes, restitution related to various criminal convictions, attorney fees, loans and credit card bills.

Meanwhile, as Kilpatrick has lost his post-conviction appeals, relatives have launched a campaign to free him. United States Department of Justice records also show he has filed for a commutation, or reduction, of his federal prison sentence. 

But the disgraced leader is ineligible for a pardon under the department’s guidelines since he still is serving a prison sentence. And he’s an unlikely candidate for commutation, partly due to having served only five years while others granted shorted stints have typically served at least half, according to legal experts in the clemency process.