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Michigan lawmaker traveling to White House to request clemency for Kwame Kilpatrick

Ex-Detroit mayor serving 28 year prison sentence

DETROIT – A Michigan lawmaker will visit the White House to request clemency for former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Michigan State Representative Sherry Gay-Dagnogo will travel to Washington D.C., as a part of a Black History Month event.

In an email newsletter, Rep. Gay-Dagnogo says she was invited by President Trump to attend the event and will discuss possible clemency for the former Detroit mayor. She says she will be delivering a letter to President Trump “signed by several Detroit Caucus Members, Elected Officials, and Ecumenical Leaders.”

"If there is one thing I have been consistent about from the inception of getting elected, it is my commitment to the pursuit of racial equity in respect to criminal justice reform. No one is arguing the former mayor’s guilt or innocence; what we’re seeking ... is a conversation about ... the disproportionate sentencing that men of color experience at every level of the system, and I am appreciative of the invitation and looking forward to having an opportunity with the President or members of his administration to discuss favorably reviewing the former Mayor’s existing petition already before the President.

We don’t have to agree on every issue, or even a majority of issues, to see the plain facts of this situation and recognize that those who issued Mr. Kilpatrick’s sentence sought to make an example out of a powerful but flawed black man. This discussion is about changing that example to one of second chances and rehabilitation - the same opportunities he has given to a number of other recently incarcerated individuals. I welcome allies of all backgrounds in the fight for justice."

Related: What’s the difference between a pardon and clemency?

Kilpatrick served as mayor of Detroit from 2002 to 2008. He resigned in 2008 following a corruption scandal.

Kilpatrick, 49, was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison in 2013 after being convicted of racketeering, mail fraud, and wire fraud, among other charges. He has been fighting his sentence ever since. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals had denied his original appeal of his conviction and sentence. He filed another motion in 2017 to vacate his prison sentence, and that was denied by a district court judge.

In 2018, Kilpatrick wrote a letter to President Trump, asking for his sentence to be commuted.

Related: Peter Karmanos urges Trump administration to free Kwame Kilpatrick


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