Kwame Kilpatrick sentencing: Read the courtroom blog

DETROITLIVE VIDEO: Outside federal court in Detroit for Kilpatrick's sentencing

WATCH: An open letter to Kwame Kilpatrick

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Kilpatrick Federal Trial

1:15 p.m.

Court is over.

Kilpatrick had little reaction after the sentence was read.

He was put back in handcuffs and taken out of the courtroom.

1:14 p.m.

Kilpatrick has the right to appeal. 

Still have the forfeiture to deal with ... will determine the amount during restitution hearing.

There will be a money judgement with the amount to be determined at a later date.

Kilpatrick has 14 days to appeal.

Kilpatrick's attorneys have no new objections after sentence was read. None from the goverment.

Will recommend that Kilpatrick be incarcerated in Texas per his request.

1:13 p.m.

$100 on each count, total of $2400 due immediately.

Judge waives fines due to defendants lack of resources

Judge says Kilpatrick will participate in inmate financial responsibility program while in prison.

Restitution in a total amount to be determined.  New hearing on that in 90 days.

Monthly payment plan on back taxes --- work it out with IRS and probation officer

cooperate with IRS and file all returns within 6 months

He is to properly report all taxable income

He is to provide all docs for those returns

Needs to pay all taxes and payments due.


Counts 1-5, 9

Kwame sentenced for a term of 240 months on each count to run concurrently.

Count 17

120 months to run concurrent

18-26, 28 and 30

84 months on each count concurrent to one another and consecutive to all other counts.

Counts 31-36

12 months on each to run concurrently.

1:06 p.m.


Edmunds says the breath, the scope of the activity extended for so long, involved so many people .... ran so deep.

In my mind, and the gov't has asked for a sentence of at least 28 years and I believe that is where this sentence should be.

1:05 p.m.

Edmunds says at the very least a significant sentence will show this behavior will not be tolerated.

Kilpatrick's track record over the past few years don't inspire confidence he can reform but his remarks this morning show more awareness than I have seen along the way.

She hopes he will lead a productive life.

She believes a long sentence is necessary to insulate the public from his behavior.  Even at the lower end of what the defendant has requested is going to be a long sentence.

The overarching issue in this case ... in a democracy the principle of accountablity holds public officials ... .responsible to the citizenry for the actions ... transparency shows they are open to public scrutiny.

Without accountability and transparency, democracy is impossible.

I believe that's what happened in this case.  We lost transparency we lost accountability, so much business was done behind closed doors without no one looking into until the press got into and opened the door to what was transpiring at city hall.

I hope that the sentence will give that message that we're demanding transparency in our government.  That we expect it.   That if there was corruption in the past, there will be corruption no more.  We're done moving forward.



1:02 p.m.

The seriousness of his crime is compounded by the number of people involved.

She talks about the number of convictions.

It is difficult to quantify the cost  ....

In addition to the 10s of millions of extorted city revenues, the 10s of millions in losses in corrupt pension deals ... the bribes ... it's harder to quantify cost of the pay to play system Kilpatrick set into motion.

She talks about the contractors who sat on sidelines  and did not compromise themselves.

Edmunds says it was the citizens of the city who suffered ... who gave their money ... never got the services in return.

She addressed media reports that Kilpatrick pushed city into bankruptcy  ... I'm not making any such statement she said.

Edmunds said corruption has its own costs.

Kilpatrick's abuse of the public trust was a corrosive factor in and of itself.


12:54 p.m.


Kilpatrick is keeping his eyes closed.   His chin in his hand.

Edmunds says while he was mayor, Kilpatrick took bribes from people who wanted to do business.

She says he directed city vendors to pay his father Bernard Kilpatrick.

She says he used power as position of mayor and the water department to steer an astounding amount of business to Ferguson.

Talks about testimony from people including Derrick Miller about the threats ... 

Edmunds says Kilpatrick and Ferguson pushed a lot of minority contractors out of the city -- despite their arguments that they were only trying to give business to those types of contractors.

With respect to the history of the defendant, he was a larger than life character who lived the high life as mayor.  People were demanded to give cash ... and he loaded the city payroll with family and friends.

He had an affair .... pleaded to two criminal counts.

Talks about him avoiding restitution.

Other than this morning, ... he has generally showed little remorse ... maintaining that this entire course of events is nothing more than a media witch hunt.

One sad thing about this case, is a man of his charisma .... chose to waste his abilities ....when he had the ability to do so much.


12:52 p.m.

Edmunds says testimony confirmed the pressure on contractors who wanted to do work in the city.  It made work more costly for the city and pushed contractors out.

Kilpatrick appeared corrupted at the state legislature.

It looks like he might have a tear at his eye.  Unclear from our camera view.

12:47 p.m.

She says the counts are grouped by category.  In this case, the entire guideline is driven by the extortion counts.   She says that's what the defense argues, that that pushes the guidelines way way up.

She says in fact it does bring them significantly up because the fraud guidelines bring them up by 18 levels, but she says there is a statutory cap .... which is 40 years.

The guidelines, because the fraud numbers are so high, don't take into consideration that there are two other categories of crimes --mail and wire fraud and tax crimes.

She says if those were separately scored, the guidelines would require 50-71 months on wire fraud and about 33 months on the tax charges.  She says that would be 90-112 additional months based on those additional convictions.

So the guidelines are correctly scored.

Guidelines are advisory.  They are not mandatory, she says.  

She says in considering whether a sentence is sufficient, its important to her to take into account it was not just the extortion counts that he was convicted, it was important to look at there were other counts of conviction as well. 

With respect to the nature and circumstances of the offense,  Kilpatrick was convicted of running a criminal enterprise using the office of the mayor of Detroit.

It extend over the 6 years in mayor and had start during his time at the state legislature. 

Bank records show $840,000 in unexplained expenditures beyond his salary as mayor passed through his bank accounts.  This is in addition to cash and kick backs.

His relationship to Bobby Ferguson was at the heart of the most profitable criminal activity.

12:44 p.m.

Judge Edmunds says she wants to begin by going through the guideline provisions and explain to those who are not lawyers or in the justice system to explain how it works.

She agrees the guidelines in the pre-sentence report are accurate and correct. Scores Kilpatrick at 43. That says life in prison according to her manual.

For purposes for her scoring, she discounted the contracts for which Kwame was not separately convicted.  She says that takes the guidelines down to just one level to 42, category 4.  That does change the analysis to 360 to life in prison.

She says if she accepts Raben argument that the criminal history is overstated, it does not change the guideline. It's still 360 to life.

12:39 p.m.


Kwame Kilpatrick sits quietly in his chair next to his lawyer.  His hand holding up his head.  Once in a while he turns to talk to people around him.  What he must be thinking right about now.

We are minutes away from Judge Nancy Edmunds rendering her sentence for the former mayor of Detroit.

12:34 p.m.

 I've been a tremendous problem in getting that to happen.

So for all the people who have felt that I have let them down tremendous and all the people whose faith and hope I destroyed, to communities living under siege. I say with every morsel of my being that I am sorry to you.

I would say the same to my wife and my children and specifically to my mom and my dad.  My mom who was an incredible public servant who lost her job to her son.

A son who killed her career.

My family is not here today because of me being subjected to whatever is happening here today.  I don't want them to have further damage leaving the courtroom.

It would be hell to go through what happens outside the courtroom.

I just only hope that one day I can forgive myself.

Mr. Gerowitz said something that was very very interesting. 

He says every time in jail he was taught something different.

I remember one time I was walking out this courtroom and the media, there was a young man who was in prison with me.  He was outside.  I walked out of the courtroom one day and I greeted him and then they parted ways.  He thought it was a good thing to see someone from prison.

The next weekend was his son's birthday.   The day that story aired, I got a call from probation officer that I was violated for talking to a known felon.  

He had planned a birthday party for his son and he was prevented from seeing his son because of that engagement on TV.

I'm saying that it's been real hard, real tough to manage what is real and true versus what people think and see.

For those people and this court, I'm praying and hoping and pleading that this court that it will be about what happened here.

I'm sure that Your Honor is going to do that.   And I don't know, I guess I'm done.  I know I'm going to be upset for not saying the right stuff.  I'm usually a good speaker.

I just want people to know that I am incredibly remorseful for the conditions of the city and any role any part I played in it.

15 minute break

12:07 p.m.


As far as the case, he wants to talk about co-defendants.

Starts to talk about his dad and pauses.

He says his father is a good man.  He is a real good man. 

He says his father is not a criminal.  His parents divorced when he was 10.  He gets choked up about a conversation he had with his dad in 5th grade and how his dad would be there.  He says he was a great man because of his father.   He talks about the grief he put his family through.

He says his father has done everything since his conviction in March to  be there for his boys.   Kwame says he wants to make sure his boys have somebody and his father, Bernard, has stepped in for him.

He says his father had nothing to do anything with the city.


Turns to Bobby Ferguson.

He says they were not childhood friends, that they met at a function for his mother, former Congressman Cheeks-Kilpatrick.   Ferguson's company was in Kwame's district.

He says Ferguson was shot in 1998.  Talks about visiting him in the hospital and how Ferguson was working in the hospital.   He says he has never seen a person more driven.


He says he was watching a special about the greatest jobs in Detroit.  It talked about the Ilitch family moving downtown, Comerica Park, Compuware.  He talks about the work Ferguson did on the projects.


Kwame says he is very proud of his work with the state house of representatives. 

He talks about Ferguson digging in a hole in 2000, he says Ferguson had a lucrative business before he became mayor and that he was making $24 million before he was mayor.

He says it was more about raising the businesses sitting in the city of Detroit, not about making money.

He says that's what got him together.


Kwame says would he do something different, absolutely.  He says he would never have the conversations that would blur the lines of propriety.  He says he would never put any contractor or any person or friend before anyone else in the city of Detroit.  I think the verdict says I did that.  


He says the prosecutors did a great job of saying there was no deal without Ferguson and that's just not true.  It's not that I'm not accepting responsibility of any of it.  The gov't talked about stealing from the city, wow!  He pauses.  " I've never done that your Honor."

He says lastly, then pauses again.

Takes a deep breath.

Pauses again.

I know the city is going through a tremendous bankruptcy.  

I know the jurors want closure and the judge wants closure, I want it too.

I want the city to be a fully participating and focused on things other than me, a dead thing.

I want the city to turn the page, so I know that Your Honor has a job to do.

I want the city to heal to prosper I want the city to be great again.  I want the city to have the same feeling it had in 2006 when the Super Bowl was here.


12:03 a.m.

He said it was the pride and ego took over.  He tried to wear it on his shoulders and his sleeves.

He says he believes because he represented the people of the city, he really messed up with it.

He didn't have a peer.  He worked his butt off and he can't stand here and say he didn't.  I worked my butt off for this job, I did, he says.

He says he accepts responsibility because in 2008, .... he lied after being called corrupt, thief, thug, murderer every single day for months and years.  He says he lied about an affair because that was the lie he was living.

He says he left the city of Detroit and he and his wife had counsel.  He says he apologized and left because he thought it was the right thing to do.  Says he didn't realize then what he realizes now that he significantly beat down the energy of what was going on in Detroit. 

He says people lost faith in leadership.  He says once you lie about an affair, once you're a liar, everything else is perceived to be the same.  He says he got it as he left here.  Says he got amazing opportunities after he left and he was happy and for the first time his marriage was good.   

He says his life was great in Texas during the worst time in Detroit.  He says he should have done something, should have said something, should have come back.

Says he beats himself up all the time.  He apologizes to the city for abandoning them.

11:57 a.m.


He says he knows where he finds himself today.

 He says he thinks the prosecutors are excellent. Calls Chutkow an amazing lawyer and that he is not being sarcastic.  He thinks he made some incredible points during the trial and today during the sentencing.

 He says he is speaking from his spirit today and he doesn't think there is anything that will change anything for him.  He hopes the people of the city can hear him

I think we've been stuck in this town for a long time and I'm ready to go so the city can move onl.  People here are suffering and a great deal of that hurt I except responsibility for.  I apologize to anybody who will listen but it never seems to get heard.

 He says he wants to put it in perspective.   Talks about a book he was reading in his cell when deciding if he should say something.   He decided he owes his children and wife and the city more than that.    He says the book talks about people believing what we see already and what we see comes out of our perceptions and experiences.  He says he wants to speak to Detroiters about that.

He says all he ever wanted to do in his life was be mayor.  He didn't want to be President or Governor.

 Six months into the job he says he hated it. He says it was the hardest thing he ever had to do, but in the black community you don't cry, you don't bow down.  You go out and look confident.  He says his confidence was deemed arrogance.

He says everybody who watched him on TV or on the street, but that was false confidence.  He says the pressure of this job is enormous.  Managing the emotions, the tension, managing a city with no money is hard every day.

11:56 a.m.


Kwame has his head down.  Quiet before speaking.

Thanks judge for chance to speak.

He says he thought a lot about what to say today.

He says he wrote some note as he was sitting so he won't mess up.

He says he respects the judge and the job she has to do. He says he knows she has to render a sentence and he asks for a fair sentence.   He says he respects the jury's verdict but he disagrees with it in terms of the specifics of what he was found guilty of and he respects the American justice system.


11:52 a.m.


Mark Chutkow, a US attorney, talks about the size of this public corruption case.  He says the sentence should fit the size of the case and the impact on the people of the city.

He talks about how small the Blagoveich case was compared to Kilpatricks and why it can't compare. 

He says $1.5 million was taken, Blagoveich received $25,000

He says these were not isolated incidents.  He says Kwame systematically deceived office.

He says Kilpatrick has not accepted responsilibility.  No attrition, no remorse.

Chutkow says this case is about him, the crimes he committed and the people he exploited.  He is not the victim.

He says a substantial sentence is called for in this case in part to deterr others who might try to enrich themselves at the expense of the public.

11:45 a.m.

Gurewitz talks about lengths of sentences in general.

He makes reference to when he was an assistant US attorney.   He talks about people being released after one third of their sentences.  That was before the current sentencing guidelines Kilpatrick is subject to now.

He says he thinks people are starting to see, in part because of the cost, that long incarcerations don't serve the purposes intended.

He says the US has longer sentences than other countries in the western world.

He says it's our view and plea to the court that it impose a sentence that is sufficient but not greater than necessary to achieve what is necessary.   He says its their view that a sentence of no more than 15 years suffice.

Kilpatrick asks to be placed in an institution in the state of Texas to be close to his family.


11:40 a.m.

Gurewitz brings up the financial penalties.

He says the sentence advocated by the government, goes beyond what's necessary.  He makes reference to what the government suggests goes beyond what's necessary for this case to act as a deterrent.

He says courts have imposed much lower sentences then what's being suggested in this case.

Kilpatrick has a pen in hand, maybe taking notes?  He is paying close attention to what his attorney is saying.

Gurewitz brings up Rod Blagojevich - a case from Illnois.  He is bringing up examples of other corruption cases.

11:33 a.m.

Gurewitz begins making reference to the sentencing report.

Kilpatrick still has his head resting in one hand, looking straight ahead.

Gurewitz says the aspect about this case is not about performance but about extortion.

Gurewitz says if the sentence is what they advocated, 15 years, that is still an enormously long time and for someone at the age of Kilpatrick who has ability left to use in productive ways.   He says the punishment Kwame has received in the state cases also serve as deterrents.  He says the impact of those cases are still relevant, including the impact of incarceration.

Gurewitz talks about the clang and the echo of the door closing on a cell, and the loneliness.   He says Kilpatrick felt that the time he was incarcerated both times.   He says the time he served was not typical, in many respects, and that it was clear that the treatment was more severe despite claims he got better treatement because he was mayor.

He talks about Kilpatrick's time in Wayne County Jail and his time at state prison.  He says he spent six months in "the shoe."

He says he was held in "the shoe" again in Milan because they had to put him in a separate time.

Gurewitz reminds the court Kilpatrick was incarcerated immediately after the guilty verdicts earlier this year.

He says the prosecution has had an enormous impact.  He says it's a cold fact, from the amount of publicity and attention this case has received locally, nationally and worldwide, and so to a large extent, the effect of this prosecution is part of the consideration that general deterrent has been achieved by the government.

11:30 a.m.

Gurewitz says Kilpatrick attempted to improve the city.  That was his goal.

He makes reference to the All Star game and the 2006 Super Bowl events during his time as mayor.  That he was able to bring people together from the city and southeast Michigan and get them to work together.  He makes reference to tax relief for residents, river front development, new hotels, and there were no questions that these were accomplished during his time as mayor but now overshadowed by events that led to today.

He says Kilpatrick was consumed by events of the city and the city became his life.  That much of what he wanted to be and to do was difficult to keep track of in that circumstance.

Gurewitz brings up the state perjury case and Kilpatrick's resignation, the impact on his life, his marital life.  He had hoped to use his resources to better the community and he realizes that and hopes he can be productive in the future.

11:25 a.m.

Harold Gurewitz talks about Kilpatrick being sent out as a scapegoat for all the city's problems.

He wants to talk about Kilpatrick's background and characteristics.  He says it's important to consider the man that he is and the man he was when he was mayor.  

Kilpatrick puts his hands in a prayer position at his face.

Gurewitz talks about Kilpatrick being raised by a mother in public office, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick.  Talks about Kilpatrick's natural characteristics for being a leader, tall, sophisticated ... etc.

He talks about Kilpatrick going onto to college, graduating with honors, being a football player.  He is trying to establish Kwame as a leader.

He brings up that Kwame was once a middle school teacher in the city and how the former mayor enjoyed that time and interacting with young people.  

Gurewitz talks about Kilpatrick respected in his role in state office.

Gurewitz turns to circumstances since 2008 have kept him from using his skills and his experience.

Kilpatrick hopes his life can still be productive and meaningful.

11:23 a.m.

Harold Gurewitz begins speaking.  He is Kilpatrick's attorney.

She starts by thanking the court for giving him and his staff time to prepare for the sentencing.

Edmunds thanks him for his hard work.

He says he has submitted five letters to the court on Kilpatrick's behalf.

Remember Gurewitz was not Kilpatrick's attorney during the trial.  It was Jim Thomas.

11:11 a.m.

Kilpatrick is talking to audience members during break.  He is talking to a group of four men.  Among them is his cousin, Ajene Edwards and Larry Mongo.   Local 4 Defender Kevin Dietz says Kilpatrick was talking to them about prison food.

Carlita Kilpatrick, his wife, is not in attendance for the sentencing.

11:05 a.m.

Raben wraps up her objections.

Judge Edmunds orders a break.

We'll be back soon.

We expect to hear from both sides after the break.   Kwame Kilpatrick will be given an opportunity to address Judge Edmunds and the court.

11:02 a.m.

Kilpatrick has his eyes closed often, with his head resting on one hand.  It sometimes looks as if he is sleeping. Maybe he has his eyes closed to listen more closely? He looks weary. 

10:54 a.m.

Raben, Kilpatrick's attorney, continues to object to language in the presentence report.

Raben argues about testimony in the report that was not given in trial.

Judge Edmunds says she didn't use it.

10:47 a.m.

Raben makes objections to pre-sentencing reports. She objects to the word oversee in the report.

Edmunds says some of these objections have already been resolved.

Edmunds overrules the objection to the word oversee, because Kilpatrick was mayor of Detroit.

Kwame Kilpatrick appears frustrated at times during the proceeding. He rests his head on his hands and is wearing a frown. He looks sad.

10:34 a.m.

Kwame Kilpatrick is very quiet exchanging only a few words with one of his attorneys, Harold Gurewitz.

There is no smiling today.   He looks tired.  His eyes are heavy.

10:28 a.m.

Raben brings up a new object.

She is objecting to the argument of the enhancement of an elected public official.

She says there is inadmissible double counting.

Being a public official brings him to 14, Raben says he was brought to 18 because of double counting.

Prosecutor Mark Chutkow says the upward adjustment of four points from 14 to 18 is because of the grave nature of this.

Edmunds agrees with the government.  She overrules the objection by Kilpatrick's defense.

10:22 a.m.

U.S. Judge Nancy Edmunds speaks about how she calculated the loss of funds.

She agrees that the $9.6 million number is a defensible number.  

For her purposes in calculating the guideline, she said she took a more conservative approach which she says she is not required by the law.

She is taking only the contracts which were specifically found to be convictions in counts 2, 3, 4 and 9.  On counts 2 and 3, she says the total profit based on 10% margin is about $2,084,000

On count 4, the amount is $1,349,000

On count 9, the amount is $822,000

So Edmunds total loss is $4,584,423 which takes Kilpatrick down one level, to an 18 level enhancement instead of a 20 level enhancement.  She eliminated $5 million in profit. 

10:16 a.m.

Raben asks the court was there proof that Kilpatrick was steering Ferguson's companies into the contracts, absolutely, but was it implicit proof of what the specific fact of the steering meant. Raben says I don't think so.

Raben says she has not seen evidence that Kilpatrick knew what his friend Bobby Ferguson was doing.

Edmunds says I don't know how you can you say he is a co-conspirator but that the money from the contracts was not foreseeable to him.  That the only purpose for getting Ferguson these contracts was to make money.    She doesn't think the defense's argument that Kilpatrick couldn't foresee that he was going to make money doesn't make sense at all.

Raben says Kilpatrick should not be assessed that total amount of money.  

Edmunds says on issue on how she calculates the loss on the extortion and rico counts, she asks that she hears the prosecution first before deciding.

10:08 a.m.

Kilpatrick attorney Maragaret Raben begins by objecting the use of $9,654,553.   She said she understands the government has to come up with a reasonable number, but she argues the some of sources used to come up with that number are unsubstantiated and not used during trial and not reliable.

Raben says the amount of money in counts 2-4, and 9 can be used because they are convictions against Kilpatrick are sufficiently established.  The counts in which there was no consensus against Kilpatrick, should not be included.

Kilpatrick is sitting with his arms crossed at the table, his eyes looking down and with a very solemn expression. 

10:05 a.m.

U.S. Judge Nancy Edmunds begins by wanting to sort out the number of objections filed to the sentencing. 

She suggests taking up the general objects first, asks defense what their preference will be.   It is difficult to hear their response because the attorneys are not speaking into a microphone.

10:03 a.m.

Court is officially in session

10:02 a.m.

Kwame Kilpatrick is now in court, he arrived in handcuffs and prison gear. No suit for him

9:59 a.m.

Kilpatrick's attorney, Hardol Gurewitz has arrived in the courtroom.

9:53 a.m.

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade is seated in the front row of the courtroom.

9:51 a.m. 

The camera is officially on in the courtroom.  Margaret Raben, an attorney for Kilpatrick is seated at the table.  Kilpatrick is not in the courtroom yet.

9:35 a.m. 

National media has made the trip to report on Kwame Kilpatrick's sentencing.  So far staff from ABC News and FOX News have popped into our media room.

9:22 a.m. 

There are six men who showed up outside U.S. Judge Edmunds courtroom claiming to be relatives of Kwame Kilpatrick. 

No sign of his father, Bernard Kilpatrick.

9:13 a.m.  

We are less than an hour away from the start of the hearing for Kwame Kilpatrick's sentencing.   

Bobby Ferguson, one of his codefendants will be sentenced Friday.   His father, Bernard Kilpatrick will be sentenced on October 17.  

In addition to recommending nearly 30 years in prison, the feds want Kilpatrick and Ferguson to pay more than $9 million in restitution.   

Both Kilpatrick and Ferguson say they have no money. 

Kilpatrick already owes more than $850,000 in restitution to the city of Detroit for the text messaging case. 

9:18 a.m.

The cameras have just been turned on in the courtroom.  Microphones are being checked. No one is inside the courtroom yet.

8:20 a.m.

The sentencing portion of the federal trial against former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick will get underway later this morning. 

The sentencing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. 

It's 8:20 a.m. and already about 25 people are already standing outside U.S. Judge Nancy Edmunds' courtroom waiting for a chance to witness what sentence she will render against Kilpatrick. 

Kilpatrick was tried on 30 counts and found guilty on 24 including racketeering, extortion, and fraud. 

The U.S. Attorney's office has recommended he receive a minimum sentence of 28 years.

Kilpatrick's attorneys have asked that he be sentenced to no more than 15 years. 

Stay with, we will be blogging as everything unfolds in Judge Edmunds courtroom.