Detroit Mayor to Resign, Do Jail Time - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has pleaded guilty to two felony counts of obstruction of justice by committing perjury and has agreed to serve four months in jail. He will also have to pay up to $1 million in restitution and serve five years’ probation.

“I lied under oath in the case of Gary Brown and Harold Nelthrope versus the city of Detroit … I did so with the intent to mislead the court and jury, to impede and obstruct the disposition of justice,” Kilpatrick told a Detroit courtroom, the Free Press reports.

Kilpatrick once faced five to 15 years of prison time on eight felony counts including perjury, obstruction of justice, and misconduct in office. The plea ends an almost eight-month saga stemming from a sex scandal involving explicit text messages allegedly sent between the mayor and his former chief of staff, Christine Beatty. The messages contradicted statements the two gave under oath denying an extramarital affair during a police department whistle-blower trial last summer. Kilpatrick approved a confidential settlement of a lawsuit after the trial that reportedly cost city taxpayers more than $9 million.

Amid the charges, Kilpatrick had refused to resign, even after a City Council push to do so. He has now agreed not to run for office during his probation period, according to reports.

Beatty is not included in Kilpatrick’s plea deal and will face felony charges in court next week.

In August, a Detroit judge ordered Kilpatrick to jail for violating the terms of his bond in his perjury case after making a business trip and not informing the court. According to reports, the mayor apologized to the court, telling District Court Judge Ronald Giles, “I’ve been living in an incredible state of pressure and scrutiny.” After the apology, Giles sent the mayor to jail anyway, where he spent one night.

Kilpatrick still faces two felony charges in a separate case for allegedly assaulting deputies trying to serve a subpoena last month at the home of his sister, Ayanna Michigan, according to the Free Press.

Upon Kilpatrick’s resignation, the president of the Detroit City Council, Kenneth V. Cockrel Jr., will take over mayoral duties.

At the onset of his civic career in Detroit, Kilpatrick was once seen as a rising star. Deemed the “Hip-Hop Mayor,” he was the youngest elected leader in the city’s history. Citizens are reportedly hoping for a brighter future after a case that has segmented opinions and morale, and cost citizens time and money.

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Janell Hazelwood

Janell Hazelwood is associate managing editor at Black Enterprise, managing content across core areas of Money, Career, Small Business and Technology. She is also a featured blogger with My Two Cents, providing insights on branding, millennial career development, employment trends and leadership. She was previously a content producer and copy editor for Black Enterprise magazine, working across several editorial sections. The Hampton University graduate got her start in the newspaper industry, having worked for companies including The New York Times and Scripps Howard News Service. Her works and insights have appeared on The Huffington Post, MadameNoire, E!Online, Brazen Careerist, CBS News, and Arise TV.