Emma Bell gets 2 years probation

Key witness in case against Kwame Kilpatrick won't do time in jail


DETROIT – A key witness in the federal corruption case against ex-Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been sentenced to two years of probation.

Emma Bell was a close, long-time friend to Kilpatrick. But the one-time fundraiser for his campaign and civic fund helped investigators paint a picture of the former Detroit mayor as a money-hungry man who made some of those closest to him do some of the dirty work.

She told jurors how she paid Kilpatrick thousands of dollars including stories about her stashing money in her bra and delivering it the mayor.

On Thursday, a judge decided not to send Bell to jail after she pleaded guilty to the tax crime. Federal prosecutors had lobbied for the lighter sentencing, citing Bell's "extremely helpful" testimony. The U.S. Attorney's Office was recommending a sentence of 12 months or less, a punishment below the guidelines.

In addition to her probation, Bell must pay $334,000 in back taxes, which the judge is allowing her to pay in an installment plant. The judge doesn't believe the 70-year-old woman will be able to pay it all.

Moreover, Bell must attend Gamblers Anonymous meetings, alcohol counseling -- a substance abuse program -- and complete 100 hours of community service.

Kilpatrick is serving a 28-year sentence for corruption.

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