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Lawyers reportedly offer plea deal for Detroit mayor

Jail time remains key sticking point

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of Detroit may plead guilty. Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of Detroit may plead guilty.
By Corey Williams
Associated Press / September 1, 2008
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DETROIT - Lawyers for Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of Detroit have proposed a deal in which he would plead guilty to two felonies, make restitution, and serve five years of probation in exchange for avoiding jail time, a newspaper reported yesterday.

The Detroit Free Press quoted "a source familiar with all aspects of the negotiations" as saying Kilpatrick's legal team also said he would give up his law license, not run for office for two years, and do 300 hours of community service.

Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy hadn't yet accepted the offer, the newspaper said.

A person briefed on the talks told the Associated Press yesterday that the prosecutor's office would not agree to any type of plea that doesn't involve jail time. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of not wanting to publicly disclose specifics of the talks.

One Kilpatrick lawyer, James Thomas, told AP yesterday morning that he had been out of town for a few days and was unaware of the plea deal proposal. He said that even if he had been aware of it he couldn't comment on it.

The 38-year-old Kilpatrick, who is in his second four-year term as mayor, is charged with 10 felonies in two cases. He also faces removal proceedings set to begin Wednesday before Governor Jennifer Granholm.

The newspaper said he would turn over his state pension to the city. Kilpatrick is a former member of the state House, where he was leader of the Democratic minority. It said he also would make at least $100,000 in restitution.

The newspaper said that in a letter to Worthy, Kilpatrick's lawyers proposed having a neutral "legal statesman" assess the offer. It didn't identify the lawyers.

On Tuesday, Wayne County Circuit Judge Robert Ziolkowski is expected to decide whether to grant Kilpatrick's request to postpone the hearing before Granholm.

The Detroit City Council is asking Granholm to use her constitutional power to remove Kilpatrick from office. It says the mayor misled council members into approving an $8.4 million settlement with fired police officers in a whistle-blowers' lawsuit. The council says it didn't know the deal included provisions to keep a cover on romantic text messages between Kilpatrick and his top aide.

Kilpatrick also would be forced from office if convicted of a felony in either of the two criminal cases.

In the first case, he and former top aide Christine Beatty are charged with perjury, conspiracy, misconduct, and obstruction of justice. They are accused of lying during the 2007 whistle-blowers' trial about having an extramarital affair and their roles in the firing of a deputy police chief.

Text messages from Beatty's city-issued pager contradicted their testimony.

The other charges against the mayor stem from a confrontation in July.

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