Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick released from prison after Trump commutes sentence
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who has served more than seven years of a 28-year prison sentence for corruption crimes, was released from federal prison Wednesday after President Donald Trump commuted his sentence, a Bureau of Prisons spokesman told the Associated Press.
Social media beginning Wednesday evening showed Kwame a free man. A Facebook video posted by a relative, Ajene Cheeks Evans, appears to show a slimmed down Kilpatrick in a white face mask embracing others at a Delta airport terminal. The city was unclear.
"GOD is the greatest," Evans, who is listed on his Facebook page as a Michigan Senate district manager, wrote in the caption, along with emojis for a heart and praying hands. "...that’s what they gotta know"
Trump's decision to commute the sentence before leaving office paved the way for Kilpatrick, who was imprisoned for running a racketeering enterprise out of City Hall, to find freedom some 16 years early.
Kilpatrick’s sentence was reduced but his 24 felony convictions stand. He is on the hook for $195,000 owed to the Internal Revenue Service and $1.5 million to Detroit.
The Rev. Keyon Payton said after being released from a minimum security prison in Oakdale, Louisiana, Kilpatrick likely would go to Atlanta to reunite with his mother, sister and other family members.
“Everyone deserves a second chance,” said Payton, who leads New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Pontiac, adding: “Twenty-eight years was far too long.”
Kilpatrick was about seven years into his sentence for his role in a racketeering and bribery scheme while in public office. He and contractor Bobby Ferguson were convicted following a six-month trial when a federal jury found they turned City Hall into a "money-making machine," squeezing millions of dollars out of government contracts and spending the money on luxury lifestyles.
"President Trump commuted the sentence of the former Mayor of Detroit, Kwame Malik Kilpatrick. This commutation is strongly supported by prominent members of the Detroit community," the White House said in a statement early Wednesday.
Kilpatrick, 50, was sentenced in 2013 on two dozen counts. The 28-year sentence tied Ohio county politician Jimmy Dimora for the longest federal prison sentence for a corrupt public official in U.S. history.
Kilpatrick’s plans for post-prison life were unclear Wednesday.