Kwame Kilpatrick a 'remorseless' felon, feds say

Robert Snell
The Detroit News
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Detroit — Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is a remorseless felon whose latest attempt to shift blame for a racketeering conviction and 28-year prison sentence should be rejected, federal prosecutors said Friday.

Prosecutors filed a caustic, 22-page, legal brief responding to claims Kilpatrick leveled last month about his trial judge having a conflict of interest that tainted the public corruption trial six years ago.

Kilpatrick claimed U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds was biased in favor of his lawyer James C. Thomas and accused her of sending the attorney a wedding card during the trial.

Kilpatrick said the relationship prevented him from receiving a fair trial and he wants the judge recused from his ongoing attempts to set aside the conviction and sentence.

“In Kwame Kilpatrick’s view, the blame for his corruption convictions lies with everyone but him,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Goetz wrote in the court filing Friday. “He has never apologized, never accepted responsibility — never shown any remorse for extorting millions of dollars from Detroit city contractors. Instead, he has lashed out at every possible scapegoat: the government, the media, his attorneys, and, now, this court.”

Kilpatrick’s allegations do not justify recusing the judge or vacating the conviction, Goetz wrote.

A wedding card does not suggest the judge and Kilpatrick’s lawyer were engaged in an “intimate, personal relationship” that would require recusal, Goetz wrote.

“Kilpatrick’s argument is also odd for another reason: he’s contending not that the court was biased in favor of the government’s attorneys, but that the court was biased in favor of his attorney,” Goetz wrote. “It is unusual for a litigant to complain that a judge views his chosen counsel favorably.”

Kilpatrick, 48, previously has argued that the prison sentence should be vacated for a variety of reasons, including incorrect jury instructions, impermissible hearsay and because his defense lawyer had a conflict of interest.

Kilpatrick’s request to vacate his conviction was viewed by legal experts as Kilpatrick's last shot at convincing a judge to erase the 28-year federal prison sentence that tied with the longest such corruption sentence in U.S. history for former Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Commissioner Jimmy Dimora.

Kilpatrick was convicted of running a criminal enterprise out of City Hall that included steering rigged water and sewer contracts to his friend, city contractor Bobby Ferguson.

The request follows failed attempts by Kilpatrick to have his conviction overturned by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals or have his case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

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