Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on 'Today' show: 'I did the perjury'

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick admitted to committing perjury but maintains he's innocent of federal mail fraud, racketeering, bribery and obstruction of justice charges.

"I did the perjury," he told NBC's "Today" show in an interview that aired Thursday. "But all of this mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy, absolutely not."

He said he still maintains he did not commit the majority of the charges the federal government leveled against him.

The ex-mayor said he has apologized to the people of Detroit for his crime.

"I've apologized so many times they've stopped telling me to stop," he said. "Don't you apologize. We got it.

"I've asked for forgiveness from this city and it's been accepted, the people who are willing to accept it," he said. "There are some people that will never accept it. But in this town, I believe they have."

Kilpatrick, 51, was convicted in 2013 of two dozen charges for his role in a racketeering and bribery scheme while in public office. Last year, he was released from a minimum-security federal prison in Oakdale, Louisiana, after serving seven years of a 28-year sentence.

The former mayor's sentence was commuted by then-President Donald Trump on his last day in the White House.

Kilpatrick said he has not yet met with Trump since his release but would like to. Kilpatrick said when he does, he plans to thank him.

"I'm going to give him a pound (a fist bump) and say 'Listen, thank you, Mr. President."

Kilpatrick also expressed regret that his affair with his then-Chief of Staff Christine Beatty came to light.

"It was quick (when I realized things went off the tracks,) 2008, it was revealed that my tremendous character flaw, lying and manipulating of my own wife and family with having an adulterous relationship was put out in the public," he said. "And I had to protect my family. It was tough."

Kilpatrick married his fiancée, LaTicia Kilpatrick, in July, six months after leaving prison, and announced that she was pregnant with their second son together — his fifth overall — in January. 

He said before he went to prison, he was arrogant and "thought he had it all figured out."

"Going into that prison was like a womb for me," Kilpatrick said. "I literally was in darkness. I was broken to the point that I was having thoughts about not being here anymore.

"But out of that womb came a totally new understanding, because I was broken enough to receive the spirit of humility."

Earlier this month, Kilpatrick joined ministers at a Detroit church to call for prison reform in Michigan and urged people to support the drive to get his Good Time initiative on the ballot. The effort, unveiled in March, aims to give prison inmates a way to reduce their sentences by participating in college classes, anger management programs, substance abuse treatment or being a veteran.

cramirez@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez