DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroiters will soon find out just how long their former mayor will remain behind bars.
Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick will be sentenced Sept. 3 and his friend, city contractor Bobby Ferguson, will be sentenced on Sept. 4.
The two have been incarcerated at the federal prison in Milan since March 11 when Kilpatrick was convicted of 24 counts — including racketeering conspiracy. Ferguson was found guilty of nine crimes. Each was acquitted of several charges and the jury failed to reach a verdict on others. [See the verdict here, charge by charge.]
The two were taken into custody immediately after their convictions and will get credit for time served.
WWJ Legal Analyst Charlie Langton says Kilpatrick is going away for a long time.
“Kwame Kilpatrick will be given a very serious sentence; I’d say between 20 and possibly more — maybe like 30 years ,” Langton said. “The reason is because of the impact of the crime. He was convicted of racketeering. It cost the city millions of dollars, and he had a fair and square trial.”
Langton says the lawyers will make sentencing recommendations and the judge has a lot of flexibility.
During five months of testimony, the government proved that Kilpatrick fixed contracts in a “pay to play” scheme that favored Ferguson. They argued, while mayor, Kilpatrick accepted bribes and abused a nonprofit fund, enjoying a lavish lifestyle while his constituents suffered.
Kilpatrick asked the judge to throw out his conviction, claiming he was the victim of media bias and a bad lawyer. However, according to a statewide survey conducted following the trial, a majority of voters believed that the verdict was “just and fair,” while 16 percent thought Kilpatrick “got off easy.”
Kwame Kilpatrick’s father, Bernard Kilpatrick, was acquitted of a racketeering charge but found guilty of a single tax charge. He remains free on bond, awaiting a sentencing for which a date has not yet been set.
Ferguson, meantime, is preparing for another trial — in the Garden View Estates conspiracy case — that is scheduled to begin Sept. 10.