Interview: Kwame Kilpatrick Speaks Out From Behind Bars

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – During the past year that Kwame Kilpatrick has spent in Michigan prisons, Detroit’s ex-mayor has had plenty of time to ponder the divide between a once-promising public service career that included shaking hands with U.S. Presidents, but now gets spent rubbing elbows and swapping tales with murderers, rapists and common thieves.

It’s Kilpatrick like we have never heard before.

“I lied on the stand about a relationship that I had, a romantic relationship,” Kilpatrick said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press from the Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson County.

“Yes, I broke the law. Yes, I shouldn’t have done it. Yes, I’m overcome with sorrow and hurt from pain that I’ve caused my wife and family by it. What happened after that was a snowball campaign into all types of things that are totally unrelated to me,” he said.

Kilpatrick, 40, is serving up to five years for violating probation in a 2008 criminal case that followed charges of perjuries for lies he told on the stand a year earlier during a civil lawsuit.

Married, Kilpatrick denied having an affair with a top aide. Text messages left on city-issued pagers contradicted his statements.

Kilpatrick told the AP that he will address the affair, its impact on his wife and three sons and how it all led to his resignation as Mayor in “Surrendered! The Rise, Fall and Revelation of Kwame Kilpatrick.” The book is expected to be released Aug. 1.

“One of the reasons I’m writing this book is I want to show how that was magnified and morphed into being something completely different than what it started as,” he said.

In the roughly 30-minute conversation, Kilpatrick discussed life and violence behind bars.

“Since I’ve been here I’ve seen … People stomped to within an inch of their lives,” he said. “This shouldn’t be a place where people whimsically, politically send you to exercise some kind of point.”

Kilpatrick said he passes the time behind bars by reading and tutoring fellow inmates seeking GED diplomas.

“I’m a teacher at heart and so I’ve managed to channel that into engaging people in way that it makes them more productive,” he said.

“You have conversations with yourself. You bounce ideas off yourself. It’s just you and the walls,” he said. “What you learn is that there are the potential for greatness and potential for evil in each one of us. You begin to have conversations with both of those individuals.”

He also said he works out, plays center on a prison basketball team and has dropped about 50 pounds from his six-foot-four-inch frame.

“I went from meeting with Presidents and world leaders to sitting in the hole, being handcuffed taken to the shower,” Kilpatrick said. “And it was in that womb … That ‘Surrendered’ was born. It was an opportunity for me wanting to say ‘I’m sorry’ to myself and to all the people that I hurt, and then learn how to forgive myself enough so I can start fighting back to be the husband, the father and the man that I believe God wanted me to be.”

A Michigan parole board last month did not decide if Kilpatrick will be released when he’s eligible in late July. He also faces federal corruption charges.

When he is once again free, Kilpatrick said his plans include public speaking, consulting and running other people’s political campaigns. They do not include a return to elected office.

“I don’t want to work for anybody ever again. I need to work and be in my own company,” Kilpatrick said. “I have set up a great deal of opportunities for myself, and opportunities to first make reconciliation to the City of Detroit. More than anything else, I have been given a great amount of gifts and there are people, fortunately, who want for me to help them.”

Kilpatrick would not discuss the business deal behind the book or how much of the profits will come his way. He still owes $860,770 in court-ordered restitution to the City of Detroit as part of his plea deal in the 2008 criminal case, Corrections Spokesman Russ Marlan said.

“Any money that I make – any dime, any penny I make – will go to pay restitution,” Kilpatrick said. “One of the things I’ve learned over the past year is to be a man of my word.”

At $26.95 each, more than 31,800 copies of the book would have to be sold to raise that much money, but it’s unclear how much of each book sold would be profit.

“We will be using our legal remedies to obtain restitution from any book sales,” said Maria Miller, a spokeswoman for Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  • Sonnet Gothro

    Typical… Pathological liar. He thinks that by admitting some guilt, it makes his other stories more plausible. As if we should say “Well, he told the truth about THAT. He must be telling the truth now.” The only thing he’s sorry about is that he got caught and he’s not rolling deep in the D on the taxpayer’s dime anymore… Well, I guess he is still on their dime. And, why is he allowed to publish a book and retain rights? Don’t you think it should go to PAYING DETROIT BACK? He wants to apologize to himself? Wow. The guy is a textbook narcissist.

  • Sally

    Kwame sound sincere or he is looking for bookings on talk shows for his book. I’m sure prison officials will set up a conference room for the interviews. He still doesn’t get that it was not a political point that needed making that sent him to prison. It was many factors-perjury, bribe taking, misuse of Detroit funds. I think it can all be summed up by Kwame thinking he was above the law-his mother and father also fall into that category. Now he states that he doesn’t want to work for anyone-he will be his own boss. He still needs to learn that he is not the law-he must follow someone’s rules. He has demonstrated that when he makes the rules he bends the rules to suite what he wants. prison is a closed environment. When you get out into the world many temptation confront one. Just because he has had these talks with himself does not mean he will follow the straight and narrow. Buy the book-not me.

  • Dave

    I think he is just trying to make himself look good before the Federal trial begins. He is toast, wait till the Feds unload the mountain of evidence they have against him. No way did they take that long to make their case and have it blown now.

  • TaterSalad

    Kwame Kilpatrick is a complete loser! He has nothing to say that we want to hear. As for his book, who cares? He couldn’t give the thing away for free and people will not buy it except for the loons who support and follow morons like this. The book I did buy about Kilpatrick was title – “The Kwame Sutra” by M.L. Elrick & Jim Schaefer. Kwame, your are just a blip in the anals of history and you are still a lying fool in our “books”!

  • Hryhoriy

    This worthless monkey is too stupid to be a pathological liar… All he done is simply admit the truth – something which, till now, has been completely foreign to him. He thought he was more shrewd than the law and the authrorities investigating him, but alas, he’s finally come to terms with his own stupidity. A more ignorant and worthless political ‘leader’ this country has never had – with the exception of obama. Kwame will get more than 5 years….guaranteed.

  • What goes around comes around...

    So once again Kwame is living off the tax payers and the city of Detroit. First he paid for his and his family’s every wish with tax payers moneys then he is sent to jail and is living off tax payers moneys and now he writes a book and hopes it sells so once again EVERYONE ELSE can pay his debt.

    Once a LOSER, always a LOSER. I hope he gets 10+ more years to wallow in his self pity.

  • Bob

    “This shouldn’t be a place where people whimsically, politically send you to exercise some kind of point.”- under trial and takes off to texas to ‘work’, try to pretend you didn’t break the law, etc….this statement alone epitomizes the denial this man faces. He broke the law, guilty way beyond a reasonable doubt, and until he is accountable for ALL his actions he needs to rot where he is. oh wait, i don’t want to be too ‘whimsical’.

  • sarajames2

    Not only do I look forward to reading Kwame’s book, I also wish him God’s speed in getting his life back in order. This is a brilliant young man who perhaps was given a reign of power at an early age who perhaps was not mature enough to handle the pressures as well as the glory. He made a mistake by lying on the stand about an affair. Does that mean is life is over? No! If that were the case half of the men in America would be in jail.

    I for one do not understand why people in the surrounding suburbs of Detroit, who in no way care about Detroit, would not lift a finger to help Detroit, want to make sure this man spends as many days as possible in jail? I can not even name any suburban mayors!

    Good luck to you Kwame. I wil continue to pray for you. You have paid for your mistake. As you go on with your life please be very careful of those you trust as there are those ( the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press) who will do anything to make sure you fail.

    • Beneteau

      sarajames2 must be the psuedo name of Kwame’s molther1

  • sarajames2

    I would appreciate someone explaining why when the lawyer who had evidence that Kwame had lied on the stand about having an affair, did not present this evidence during the trial? Why did he wait and then comforted Kwame ” in the dark” to reveal that he had information of text messaging that Kwame indeed had lied on the stand ? Why was this not considered unethical behavior on the lawyers part?

    I also agree that when kwame was confronted with this information he should have called a news conference and just told the Detroit citizens the truth and asked the city for forgiveness. But he did not and has now paid for his mistake. But does that mean his life is over? No he deserves to go on with his life. ( Although I am sure that the financially struggling Detroit News and the Detroit Free Pres will continue every few months putting Kwame on the front page to sell a few papers to the suburbanites who care nothing for Detroit and simply want to keep this man in jail.)

    Good luck Kwame. Good luck to your future. You have paid your dues and now you deserve to take your God given talents to make amends.

    • Piper

      Well said. I agree that restitution is what will amend the wounds between Kwame and the city.

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