JACKSON (WWJ) – After spending the past 14 months in prison, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is a free man.
Released at approximately 6:15 Tuesday morning, Kilpatrick left the regional business office of the Michigan Department of Corrections in Jackson wearing blue jeans and a peach-colored shirt.
Upon leaving prison, Kilpatrick didn’t speak to reporters. He immediately got into a black Cadillac Escalade and was driven off of the prison grounds.
A statement on behalf of Kilpatrick ahead of his release said he’s “beginning anew”. Kilpatrick said, “I have new dreams and aspirations. I have a new hope.”
WWJ’s Marie Osborne reported, later Tuesday, that Kilpatrick had gathered with numerous family members at his mother’s home in Detroit to celebrate his release.
“They had a big dinner, lots of friends, lots of family,” said Osborne, adding that Kilpatrick also spent some time at his sister’s home. “There was a huge, huge outpouring of well-wishes when he arrived. He got out of the car and immediately hugged his father.”
Both his mother, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick and his father, Bernard Kilpatrick told reporters they were happy to have their son home, but offered no further comment.
Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman John Cordell talked about what will happen next.
“He needs to return to Texas in an expeditions manner. We expect that would be today. If not today, very early tomorrow,” said Cordell.
“He has 24 hours from the time he gets into Texas to physically meet with his parole officer. They will review what his parole conditions are, what the expectations are for him, how often he will need to check in with the parole officer,” he said.
Speaking Live on WWJ and Fox 2 legal analyst Charlie Langton said, although Kilpatrick is considered a low-risk offender, he’ll still have plenty of restrictions
“He’s got to maintain housing. He’s going to have to report. He cannot travel without permission, although he can travel out of the state. The big deal right now for Kwame Kilpatrick — get a job and start paying off that restitution,” Langton said.
Kilpatrick is serving two years’ probation, and Langton said any brush with the law could send the ex-Mayor back behind bars.
“A traffic ticket, speeding five miles over, probably won’t land him back in the slammer. But, certainly, if he decides to beat up somebody or if he gets drunk or if he does something along those lines, certainly it couldn’t violate his parole,” Langton said.
Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in 2008 in a case that was tied to his cover up of an extramarital affair with his chief of staff. He was sent to prison in May of 2010 by a judge who said the ex-mayor had mis-led authorities and failed to turn over certain assets toward his $1 million restitution to Detroit. He was released early due to good behavior, and is now expected to spend some of his free time preparing for trial in 2012 on unrelated corruption charges.
Kilpatrick, his father and others, face a sweeping 38-count federal indictment that accuses them of taking kickbacks and bribes in exchange for city contracts.