Defense: Kwame Kilpatrick's dad should get probation for tax crime

Bernard Kilpatrick set to be sentenced Thursday


DETROIT – The defense team for Kwame Kilpatrick's dad, Bernard, want him to be given probation on Thursday when he's sentenced for a tax crime.

Bernard Kilpatrick was convicted of one count of subscribing a false tax return by the same jury that convicted his son and contractor Bobby Ferguson of more serious crimes.

Bernard isn't in any danger of a double digit prison sentence like his son Kwame got last week, but prosecutors want him to do time.

The government is asking for a sentence of somewhere from 27 to 33 months.

In a plea for probation his defense team filed papers saying," Bernard Kilpatrick stands convicted of a single tax offense. It is a felony, and it is serious, but it is his only conviction in his 72 years."

They say with Kwame locked up, wife Carlita needs help and grandpa Bernard is the children's sole remaining male influence, saying in part, "He has been on site with and actively assisting his daughter-in-law and his daughter, both in Texas, in caring for their children as they have struggled with employment, housing, and schools during these tumultuous times."

The defense team says Bernard, who has the nickname "killer" on the streets of Detroit, could die if he is placed in prison saying, "Research relating to mortality rates of elderly prisoners who enter a prison environment later in life suggests that those rates are significantly higher for this specific population."

It would be reasonable and consistent to sentence the defendant to a term of probation, or a minimal term of incarceration the plea says.

Kwame Kilpatrick has been sentenced to 28 years in prison and Ferguson to 21 years.

Bernard Kilpatrick was charged with racketeering conspiracy, but the jury couldn't reach a verdict. He was acquitted of attempted extortion.

Nonetheless, the government says there's evidence to show the 72-year-old Bernard Kilpatrick worked closely with Kwame Kilpatrick to strong-arm people who wanted city work.

The government says Bernard made cash deposits of $605,000 during that period. Kilpatrick's lawyer says he was a legitimate consultant.

In a sentencing memo, defense attorney John Shea said probation, with "what special conditions the court finds appropriate," or a "minimal term of incarceration," is what he deems sufficient for the crime.

READ: Sentencing memo from Bernard Kilpatrick's attorney

"Bernard Kilpatrick stands convicted of a single tax offense. It is a felony, and it is serious, but it is his only conviction in his 72 years and as noted by the probation department it is in a relatively low amount that can be repaid."

Special Section: Kwame Kilpatrick's federal trial and sentencing