DETROIT – Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was officially released from prison Wednesday evening, serving only seven of his 28-year prison sentence before it was cut short.
Kilpatrick’s family declined to comment prior to his release following the news that his sentence was commuted by then-President Donald Trump on Jan. 19. In granting clemency, Trump called for prison officials to immediately release Kilpatrick.
Over the years, Local 4 has seen photos posted from Kilpatrick’s sons on social media as they visited their father in prison. His sons even came out with a campaign and song to free their father, also establishing a Free Kwame project website to raise money. It is unclear how much was raised and where the money will go now that he is free.
While he is released, Kilpatrick is still responsible to pay his $4.7 million in restitution, according to a clemency grant obtained by Local 4 Defenders.
Detroiters have mixed emotions on his release.
“They were trying to make an example out of him. I think that’s enough,” said Kamira.
“He was wrong what he did, but everyone is entitled to a second chance,” said Darryl.
Now that the former mayor has officially been released, he will be returning to a much different life than before his sentencing. The lavish home Kilpatrick had in Texas has been sold. According to court records, Kilpatrick filed for divorce back in 2018, then later revealed his divorce from his wife Carlita on his Facebook page.
Since then, Carlita has moved to the east coast of the country.
Meanwhile, Christine Beatty -- who was at the center of a text message scandal -- has since moved to Atlanta. According to her LinkedIn account, she is a proven leader with expertise in municipal and state government.
Kilpatrick’s mother, former U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, has since moved from Detroit to Georgia.
The former mayor’s co-defendant and friend, Bobby Ferguson, remains locked up for another 10 years. People in his inner circle said they want him to be released next.
Since his conviction, Kilpatrick had lost all appeals. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his case, and he tried to get a commutation from former President Barack Obama that was denied.