Charges, pressure piling up against Detroit's mayor
Kilpatrick saga tests confidence
DETROIT - The leader of the nation's 11th-largest city now faces 10 felony charges in two separate cases.
Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was charged yesterday with assaulting two investigators who were trying to deliver a subpoena to the mayor's friend last month. The two felony counts carry a maximum penalty of two years in prison or a fine of $2,000.
Kilpatrick spent Thursday night in jail after violating bond conditions in the other case against him. He is accused along with a former top aide of perjury and other charges over their testimony in a lawsuit.
The city charter says a felony conviction evicts him from office. The City Council already wants to bounce Kilpatrick on other grounds. And Governor Jennifer Granholm, acting under a little-used state law, has scheduled a hearing for Sept. 3 that could lead to his removal for misconduct.
"The charges against the mayor are very serious, and the state of affairs is clearly hurting the business of our community," said US Representative John Dingell, a Democrat representing suburban Detroit and the dean of the state's congressional delegation.
"I sincerely hope that the mayor's legal issues are dealt with quickly so these ongoing sagas no longer interfere with the important work before the leaders in Detroit, Wayne County, and the state," Dingell said in a statement.
Dressed in a custom suit, Kilpatrick was arraigned yesterday in the Wayne County jail via closed-circuit television. A magistrate entered a not guilty plea and ordered the mayor to pay 10 percent of a $25,000 bond.
Defense attorney Jim Thomas said the mayor will fight the new charges. "Let's take it step by step. . . . I want my day in court," Thomas said.
Kilpatrick, a Democrat, later was released from jail after meeting a $50,000 bond in the perjury case. He spent Thursday night in a one-man cell - with no TV and a phone that could be used only for collect calls - for violating his bond in the perjury case.
He was required to notify the court or prosecutors when traveling out of state on city business. Kilpatrick admitted flunking that condition when he crossed the Detroit River to Windsor, Ontario, on July 23 to discuss the sale of an international tunnel.
A judge sent him to jail Thursday, but a higher court said it was improper to lock him up without giving him an opportunity to meet some type of bond.
"I do not think the answer . . . should be a complete and total remand" to jail, said Wayne County Circuit Judge Thomas Jackson, who ordered the mayor to wear an electronic tether and limit his travel to Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties, which make up the heart of the Detroit metro area.
Defense attorney Jim Parkman had argued that jail without bond for someone awaiting trial should be reserved for people accused of violent crimes.