Kilpatrick's lawyers to ask for 15 year sentence - Dallas News |

Kilpatrick's lawyers to ask for 15 year sentence

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Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick
Former city contractor Bobby Ferguson Former city contractor Bobby Ferguson

Lawyers representing former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick are due in court Monday. They'll offer their sentencing recommendations for the convicted former mayor. It's believed the defense team will ask for a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Kilpatrick will be sentenced Thursday.

Federal prosecutors are recommending Kilpatrick receive one of the longest public corruption sentences in recent U.S. history – at least 28 years in prison.

In making their recommendation to U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds, prosecutors wrote: "Kwame Kilpatrick was entrusted by the citizens of Detroit to guide their city through one of its most challenging periods. The city desperately needed resolute leadership. Instead it got a mayor looking to cash in on his office through graft, extortion and self-dealing."

The feds also filed a sentencing recommendation for Kilpatrick crony Bobby Ferguson, who's also facing a lengthy prison sentence for strong-arming contractors into hiring him for city jobs -- sometimes demanding payment even when he didn't do any work. Prosecutors say sentencing guidelines for Ferguson are 30 years to life and argue that "Ferguson is deserving of a sentence at or near that of Kilpatrick."

 Ferguson's sentencing recommendation was filed first thing this morning. It was written by assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta, who argued: "Although Bobby Ferguson was not a public official, he worked hand-in-glove with Mayor Kilpatrick in a criminal partnership of enormous proportions. It was Ferguson, rather than Kilpatrick, who was the 'boots on the ground' of the extortion enterprise, directly issuing threats to the local business people."

The feds calculate that Ferguson got $127 million worth of city contracts during Kilpatrick's time in office. They estimated that "at least $73 million of which were illegal proceeds from extortion."

Kilpatrick was mayor from 2002 to 2008, when he was forced to resign in the wake of the text message scandal Jim Schaefer and I revealed in the Detroit Free Press.

Prosecutors said the scheme worked like this: "While Ferguson relied on Kilpatrick to back up his threats, Ferguson drove the extortion machine. With ruthless abandon, he bullied local businessmen and women, threatening to cancel their contracts and promising to visit financial harm upon them if they did not accede to his demands.

"The enterprise hit its crescendo when Ferguson was able to force local contractors to give him payments for no work in order to keep their city contracts."

Kilpatrick and Ferguson are scheduled to appear in federal court next Thursday, Oct. 10, when U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds, who has the final say on sentencing, will announce how much time the men will get.

Kilpatrick was found guilty in March of 24 counts of public corruption and tax charges. Ferguson was found guilty of 9 corruption charges. Kilpatrick's father, who was also facing racketeering and tax charges, was found guilty of one tax violation. His sentencing recommendation is expected next week.

All three men are appealing their convictions.

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