Bobby Ferguson gets 21 years in prison

Kwame Kilpatrick's friend, co-conspirator faces long prison sentence

DETROIT – Bobby Ferguson was sentenced Friday to 21 years in prison on convictions he extorted millions during his time as a contractor in Detroit and orchestrated it all with Kwame Kilpatrick.

He walked into the courtroom with a smile on his face, he smiled at his wife as the handcuffs were removed from his wrists; his attorneys said Ferguson is a different man now.

Kilpatrick and Ferguson were described as a team who committed bribery, extortion and other crimes.

Judge Nancy Edmunds said the evidence showed that Kilpatrick often went to bat for his buddy and punished contractors who didn't make room for Ferguson on excavation projects. Edmunds said despite the fact that Ferguson was not a public official, he was still a catalyst in the scheme and that he perpetuated an atmosphere of corruption that forced many people out of the city.

Before his sentencing, Ferguson spoke to the court while clutching a Bible. He said everything that had been said about him in the courtroom had been interpreted to the benefit of the prosecution.

He said he hopes God will continue to bless his family and mentioned that he didn't think prison was beneficial -- rehabilitation was needed for prisoners.

His soon-to-be ex-wife, Marilyn, and one of his daughters were in the courtroom for his sentencing.

When speaking to the judge Ferguson became emotional, saying his wife's birthday was today, then he turned to his wife who just filed for divorce a few days ago and said, "Happy birthday Marilyn."

Not once did Ferguson say he was sorry for anything, instead he used the moment to read from the Bible and offer a blessing to his family and even the judge saying, "May the lord bless the words you are about to read."

He did not ask the judge to go easy on him instead he said young criminals need the break.

"I am 44-years-old I have lived my life, I have five kids and two grand kids. A 19-year-old who gets sentenced to 20 years breaks my heart," Ferguson said.

Judge Edmunds listened then spoke, saying Ferguson was bold and outspoken in his extortion scheme and forced many good people out of the city.

The judge gave Ferguson seven fewer years than his buddy Kilpatrick received, citing the serious differences between Bobby Ferguson and Kwame Kilpatrick.

Ferguson was not elected mayor Edmunds said.

Story: Bobby Ferguson's wife files for divorce

Recap: Courtroom blog on Ferguson's sentencing

In March, Ferguson was found guilty on nine of 11 counts of corruption charges including racketeering conspiracy, extortion and bribery.

He's been ordered to pay $6,284,000.

Ferguson must also forfeit some of his properties, hand over his financial records to the courts and participate in an anger management program.

View: What Kilpatrick and Ferguson were convicted on

Kilpatrick was convicted on 24 of 30 corruption charges. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison on Thursday. Prosecutors had been seeking the same term for Ferguson.

More: Kilpatrick, Bobby Ferguson could get 30 years in prison

Story: Kilpatrick's stiff sentence could be bad news for Bobby Ferguson