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Kilpatrick Aid Pleads Guilty In Federal Corruption Case

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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A former aide to ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has pleaded guilty to criminal charges and agreed to cooperate as prosecutors take his old boss to trial next year.

Prosecutors said Derrick Miller, a former chief administrative officer for Detroit, admitted Monday that he accepted $115,000 from a real estate broker in connection with the lease or sale of city properties.

The government said he also accepted $10,000 from a contractor and passed $10,000 from the same contractor to Kilpatrick when Kilpatrick was running for mayor in 2001.

The government said Miller acknowledged other corrupt acts in his job as Detroit’s chief administrative officer and chief information officer.

Outside court, defense attorney Byron Pitts told reporters that Miller made mistakes. “Today is the first day of the rest of his life,” Pitts said.

Miller’s plea agreement caps any prison sentence at 10 years, although the U.S. attorney’s office could seek a reduction if it’s satisfied with the cooperation.

“Public officials involved in acts of corruption and blatant greed will be held accountable for their actions,” said Andrew Arena, head of the FBI in Detroit..

Unsealed last December, a 38-count federal indictment alleges corruption regarding city contracts totaling at least $100 million, involving racketeering conspiracy, extortion, fraud and bribery.

In addition to Kwame Kilpatrick and Miller, named in the indictment are Kilpatrick’s father Bernard Kilpatrick; Kilpatrick’s friend and city contractor, Bobby Ferguson; and Victor Mercado, former head of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

Miller, 41, who now lives in McLean, Va., admitted he pressured other contractors to give business to Ferguson, who specialized in excavation and demolition.

Kilpatrick resigned from office in 2008 in a scandal involving sexually explicit text messages and an affair with his chief of staff. He was jailed for over a year on a probation violation in that case and now faces trial in a year on fraud and tax charges.

Kilpatrick was released on parole on Aug. 2 and has been living with his family in Texas.  He is back in town this week to sign copies of his new book. (More on this, here).

Kilpatrick’s attorney, James Thomas, declined to comment on Miller’s guilty plea.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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