Detroit mayor taken to jail

Faces assault count in separate case

August 08, 2008|By McClatchy-Tribune

DETROIT - Shortly after Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick wakes up in jail this morning - still reeling from becoming the first sitting mayor in Detroit's 307-year history to spend a night behind bars - Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox is expected to charge him with felony assault.

The announcement will come just 25 hours after the onetime political wunderkind went to court yesterday with plans to waive a preliminary examination and speed his way to trial on charges from a text-message scandal, and instead wound up getting locked up.

Kilpatrick appeared devastated when 36th District Judge Ronald Giles, speaking in low-key tone from the bench, made a blockbuster ruling: that the mayor's unauthorized trip to Windsor, Canada, last month, a bond violation, had earned him an immediate trip to the Wayne County Jail.

At 10 this morning, Cox is expected to announce that he is charging Kilpatrick with assaulting an officer in July as he tried to serve court papers on one of Kilpatrick's best friends.

Before the Cox announcement, Kilpatrick will appear in Wayne County Circuit Court for an emergency hearing in hopes that he will regain his freedom with a new bond. He is already charged with eight felony counts related to the text-message scandal early this year. If Cox adds charges, the mayor faces the threat of being jailed again.

Kilpatrick and former top aide Christine Beatty are charged with perjury, misconduct and obstruction of justice, all tied to their testimony in a civil trial last year. At the heart of the case: steamy text messages contradicting their claim that they didn't have a romantic relationship.

Giles' decision to jail the mayor followed a lengthy apology by Kilpatrick, who begged Giles for another chance. He invoked the image of his 12-year-old twins as he pleaded for leniency.

"I am asking for your forgiveness. It will never happen again," the mayor said, his voice quavering as the courtroom scene was broadcast. "My sons are watching this proceeding, because I asked them to. I told them that I did something wrong."

The mayor had paid $7,500 - 10 percent of his bond in the perjury case - to remain free, along with other conditions, including notifying the court about leaving the state on city business.

He said he dashed to Windsor to discuss the sale of Detroit's share of a tunnel between the U.S. and Canada, a deal proposed as a way to fill a hole in the city's budget.

"We got the deal back on track. ... It wasn't a spur of the moment, willy-nilly, I can frolic in Canada" trip, Kilpatrick said.

But Giles was not moved, saying he needed to treat the mayor like any other defendant.

"What matters to me ... is how the court overall is perceived and how if it was not Kwame Kilpatrick sitting in that seat, if it was John Six-Pack sitting in that seat, what would I do? And that answer is simple," Giles said.

Political leaders called again for the mayor to resign.

The Associated Press contributed to this article

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