Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's former top aide pleaded guilty Monday to a broad pattern of corruption and said he's willing to testify against his old boss at trial next year.
Derrick Miller's guilty plea was a big catch for federal prosecutors, who claim Kilpatrick ran an "enterprise" of bribes and kickbacks that began even before he became mayor in 2001. They were boyhood pals who attended the same high school and worked together in Detroit as well as the state Capitol.
Miller, who was the city's chief administrative officer and chief information officer under Kilpatrick, pleaded guilty to corruption and tax crimes. His plea deal says he accepted $115,000 from a real estate broker in connection with the lease or sale of city properties.
The court filing says he also accepted $10,000 from a contractor at Cobo Center, a convention hall, and passed $10,000 from the same contractor to Kilpatrick when Kilpatrick was running for mayor in 2001.
Outside court, defense attorney Byron Pitts told reporters that Miller made mistakes.
"My client, like all of you, is human. Some mistakes have been made and today he acknowledged those mistakes. Today is the first day of the rest of his life and he's moving forward," said Pitts.
Kilpatrick's attorney, James Thomas, declined to comment on Miller's guilty plea. Kilpatrick resigned from office in 2008 in a scandal involving sexually explicit text messages and an affair with his chief of staff.
"Public officials involved in acts of corruption and blatant greed will be held accountable for their actions," said Andrew Arena, head of the FBI in Detroit.
Miller's plea agreement caps any prison sentence at 10 years, although the U.S. attorney's office could seek a reduction if it's satisfied with the cooperation.
Miller, 41, who now lives in McLean, Va., admitted accepting $10,000 from a contractor who got millions from the federal government to install security cameras in Detroit. He also said he pressured other contractors to give business to Kilpatrick pal Bobby Ferguson, who specialized in excavation and demolition.
Miller is among five people facing a 38-count indictment alleging bribery and racketeering charges. Others charged are Kwame Kilpatrick, Bernard Kilpatrick, Bobby Ferguson and Victor Mercado.