Huffpost Politics

Detroit Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, Charged With Two Felony Assault Counts

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DETROIT — For anyone keeping score, the leader of the nation's 11th-largest city now faces 10 felony charges in two separate cases.

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was charged Friday 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 and 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 Gov. 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 U.S. Rep. 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 Friday 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, then shook hands and hugged people at City Hall. He later met with city directors and other staff members.

"Mayor Kilpatrick thanked his team for their continued commitment and focus on moving the City of Detroit forward," according to a statement his office released. "He told the staff he plans to continue his work on moving an aggressive agenda forward for the city of Detroit."

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.

"I'm sure that the mayor's family is going to be very happy to have him back home," Thomas said. "This was obviously very, very stressful for them."

Since March, Kilpatrick and former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty have been charged with perjury, misconduct and obstruction of justice for their testimony in a lawsuit brought by a former deputy police chief who claimed he was illegally fired.

A key part of that case involved denials of an affair between Kilpatrick and Beatty. But text messages that became public earlier this year contradicted their denials and led to criminal charges. Arraignment is set for Thursday.

Brian White, a sheriff's detective and chief investigator in the case, said he was looking to serve a subpoena on Bobby Ferguson, a Kilpatrick ally, when he believed he had found his truck July 24. When he knocked at a house, White instead found Kilpatrick, rushing through the door, pushing the detective into partner JoAnne Kinney and yelling profanities and racist remarks.

The attorney general's office lists 11 witnesses in the case, including four members of the mayor's security detail.

"In my almost 20 years, first as a prosecutor and now as an attorney general ... I cannot recall ever seeing, let alone hearing, of a situation where a police officer trying to serve a subpoena was assaulted," Cox said.

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Associated Press writer Jeff Karoub contributed to this report.

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