Jurors in a city buffeted by financial crisis convicted former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on corruption charges Monday, capping a five-month trial that exposed a brazen pay-to-play culture during his years in office while the distressed city lost jobs and people and veered toward insolvency.
Kilpatrick could face more than 10 years in prison for two dozen convictions, from racketeering conspiracy to bribery to tax crimes. Once hailed as a hip, young big-city leader, he was portrayed at trial as an unscrupulous politician who took kickbacks, rigged contracts and lived far beyond his means.
Kwame Kilpatrick was the youngest mayor in Detroit history. He also was the first to be charged with a felony while in office.
He went from fawning magazine profiles to late-night TV punch line, from the Manoogian Mansion to a 6-by-9-foot prison cell, from chatting with then-President Bill Clinton on Air Force One to pleading with judges not to take away his freedom.
Ed White, “Ex-Detroit Mayor Convicted, Jailed Until Sentence”, AP, March 11, 2013.
Francis X. Donnelly, “Kwame Kilpatrick’s rise and fall filled with drama; Once symbol of hope, he heads to prison in disgrace”, Detroit News, March 12, 2013.
Dan Austin, “Meet the 5 worst mayors in Detroit history“, Detroit Free Press, August 29, 2014. When it comes to bad mayors, Kwame Kilpatrick ranks #1.