DETROIT (WWJ) – “We will not tolerate this kind of betrayal of the public trust.”
That’s the message, said U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, behind ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s 28-year prison sentence, handed down by Federal Judge Nancy Edmunds, Thursday in Detroit.
McQuade said, after looking at comparable crimes nationwide, the highest sentencing was in a case in which the conduct was not as egregious as that of Kilpatrick.
“It was staggering, the depths of it,” McQuade told WWJ Newsradio 950′s Pat Sweeting. “You know, 30 members of his administration were caught up in that culture of corruption. He stole from youth, from seniors, and from neighborhoods. And so I think 28 years is an appropriate sentence.”
Did she think Judge Nancy Edmunds would be swayed by what some have characterized as a remorseful speech by Kilpatrick?
“I don’t wanna speak for her, but for me I was pleased to hear him accept some responsibility,” McQuade said, “but I also heard him deny responsibility for stealing from the people and shaking down contractors; and so that to me diminished the impact of his words.”
McQuade said this is a great step to restoring faith in public officials.
“When you have public corruption it erodes the trust in government, and it has that corrosive effect of breeding cynicism and apathy,” she said, “and we’re hopeful that this powerful message will say the people of Detroit will not tolerate stealing from our citizens.”
McQuade says the cycle of corruption in the city has stopped, for now.
“I think this is a historic day in the city of Detroit. and that we can move forward,” McQuade said.
Kilpatrick has 14 days to file an appeal. He also must return to court for a restitution hearing that could cost him millions of dollars.
Kilpatrick — along with his pal, contractor Bobby Ferguson — were convicted in March of a sweeping scheme to enrich themselves through fixed contracts, bribes and kickbacks.
Ferguson is expected to get 20 to 25 years, when he is sentenced on Friday.