|Surrounded by his legal team Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick listens to Magistrate Steve Lockhart at 36th District Court in downtown Detroit on Tuesday March 25, 2008. (ERIC SEALS/DFP)|
Kwame Kilpatrick refuses to step down from office and vows to keep doing the business of the City and Citizens of Detroit
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick refuses to resign and vows to fight the charges that have been brought against him by County Prosecutor Kym Worthy. Kilpatrick faces eight felonies and Christine Beatty, his former chief of staff, faces seven felonies, including perjury, obstruction of justice, and misconduct in office.
Kilpatrick's six-year term as mayor of one of America's largest and heavily populated black cities is now in jeopardy*. Penalties for the charges range from five to 15 years in prison. A perjury conviction is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and could force Kilpatrick to resign. Kilpatrick reading from a prepared written statement at a press conference Monday Morning said "This has been a very flawed process from the very beginning." He said that he recognized that "this is the first step in a process that I believe in that is grounded in the presumption of innocence that is guaranteed to each and every American citizen by the Constitution of these Untied States. I look forward to complete exoneration once all the facts surrounding this matter have been brought forth." Detroit's youngest elected leader said this afternoon that he was deeply disappointed but not surprised by the decision.
In the meantime, Kilpatrick said that he will remain focused on moving the city of Detroit forward with key initiatives, such as modernizing its police force, expanding the city's workforce development department efforts to prepare citizens for jobs, and presenting the city council with an economic stimulus package. Dan Webb, the mayor's chief counsel said that he was still waiting for formal charges to be put into a written complaint and to date he had only heard the allegations via the prosecutors press conference from earlier in the day. Webb was certain the mayor was ready to proceed and is ready to go to court. The allegations against the mayor stem from explicit cell phone text messages allegedly sent by Kilpatrick, 37, to Beatty, 37, which contradict statements the two gave when each denied an extramarital affair.
Webb said that he is familiar with the evidence and based all his years of experience as a trial lawyer, he is convinced that a jury will exonerate Mayor Kilpatrick on each and every charge. "When I listen to the charges it is clear to me that every single count is based on the allegation that the mayor acted improperly in connection to the civil case. The core of this allegation is that they mayor committed perjury in the civil case." Webb said that based on his research, he had not found a single case where the Wayne County prosecutor's office had "ever charged anyone with the crime of perjury in a civil case; it has always been reserved for criminal cases." This raises the issue of 'selective prosecution;' something Webb intends to bring before the judge presiding over the pending trial. "Having a jury trial is critically important in this case. All the evidence needs to be heard. Let that jury speak and a make a decision."
Webb said he would not fight this case in the media and encouraged the prosecutors office to do the same. Webb also in a message directly to the prosecutor stated ‘Kym Worthy said that our jury system is the best system in the world. I agree with that. She also said that you have to work to make the system work. I agree with that. My client the mayor is entitled to his day in court."
Referring to Detroit City Council and other officials' suggestion the mayor resign from public office, Webb said he strongly advised his client not to take that course of action.