By Christy Strawser
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) – The jury has spoken in the federal corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and they said he’s guilty of the most important charge: racketeering.
Sentencing will happen at a later date, but the conviction carries a possible penalty of up to 20 years in prison. A bond hearing was set for 1:30 p.m. Monday, where the judge will decide whether they go free until sentencing — or go straight to jail.
Kwame Kilpatrick, Bernard Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson were hit with more than 30 charges of federal mail and tax fraud, extortion, bribery and racketeering — with Kilpatrick convicted of 24 charges. Ferguson was the only one without tax fraud charges, and Bernard Kilpatrick was the only one not convicted of racketeering.
Bobby Ferguson was accosted by a scrum of reporters and members of the public on his way out of the building, with some screaming he took money meant for children. Ferguson remained mostly stone faced, saying only “God is good.” A stunned-looking Kwame Kilpatrick waded through the throng of reporters without saying a word.
This verdict caps off an emotional few months of testimony, and pleas from the prosecutor and defense attorneys, both claiming the other has no basis in fact. The jury indicated they decided their verdict Friday, after 12 days of deliberation, but wanted to sleep on it over the weekend before making it final.
The attorneys for Kilpatrick and his co-defendants Bobby Ferguson and Kwame Kilpatrick’s father Bernard Kilpatrick oversaw nearly 70 days of testimony from witnesses ranging from business owners to former associates who claimed the former mayor and his closest allies used his office as a for-profit enterprise benefitting only themselves.