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Jury convicts ex-Detroit mayor of corruption

By Karen Hudson Samuels/Tell Us USA News Network

DETROIT (Tell Us USA) - On Monday, March 11, 2013, Detroit’s youngest Mayor and his childhood friend are spending the night in federal prison following a day of court rulings that convicted Kwame Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson of public corruption on over 2 dozen counts.

“Kwame didn’t lead the city, he looted the city” said U.S. Attorney General Barbara McQuade in a late Monday afternoon news conference following a day of court. McQuade was joined in the announcement by Robert D. Foley, III, Special Agent In Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Randall and a host of other federal agencies which included the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, IRS Criminal Investigation and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban.

After a five month trial, hundreds of witnesses and reams of evidence, Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted of 24 counts extortion, mail fraud, tax violations and racketeering, Bobby Ferguson was convicted of 9 counts of extortion and racketeering and Bernard Kilpatrick was convicted of one count of filing a false tax return.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Foley stated, "The FBI Led Detroit Area Public Corruption Task Force worked tirelessly to pursue and prosecute individuals associated with a criminal enterprise run for years out of the Detroit Mayor's Office. Due to the scope and complexity of the investigation, it was imperative to make sure no corners were cut and no stone was left unturned."

In an emotional filled courtroom, U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmonds ruled to send Kilpatrick and Ferguson directly to federal prison while awaiting sentencing, saying it was close call. But at the end of the day, Judge Edmonds said the two posed a flight risk and that Kilpatrick had repeatedly defied provisions of his probation. Each man is facing over 25 years in federal prison.

Facing the moment of truth, Kilpatrick and Ferguson were handcuffed and lead out of the courtroom as former Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks and the Mayor’s sister Ayianna Kilpatrick looked on; Ferguson’s wife and children were also on hand. Reporters in the courtroom said Kilpatrick turned to his mother and sister raising his hands and said “No doubt, no fear”.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said, "I would like to congratulate the U.S. Attorneys Office on their successful prosecution of this complex corruption case. I will reserve any further comment until Defendant Kwame Kilpatrick is sentenced," said Prosecutor Worthy.

Wasted talent, that’s the biggest crime Kwame Kilpatrick may have committed. News reports on reactions to the verdict mentioned again and again that the potential of the former Mayor and how it was wasted.

Mayor Dave Bing’s office released this statement following the convictions. "I am pleased that this long trial has ended and we can finally put this negative chapter in Detroit’s history behind us. It is time for all of us to move forward with a renewed commitment to transparency and high ethical standards in our City government.”

Tell Us Detroit spoke to Kilpatrick before the verdict as he walked into the federal courthouse and asked how he was feeling, he said “I am peace”.

The evidence presented at trial established that Kwame Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson participated in a racketeering conspiracy to financially enrich themselves, their associates and their families by using the power and authority of Kwame Kilpatrick’s position as Mayor of Detroit, as well as his position as a member of the Michigan House of Representatives, to commit extortion, bribery and fraud, as well as by defrauding donors to nonprofit entities under the control of Kwame Kilpatrick and his associates, including the Kilpatrick Civic Fund, Kilpatrick for Mayor, and the Kilpatrick Inaugural Committee.