DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Federal prosecutors are recommending up to nearly three years in prison for former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s father, who was convicted of a tax crime while his son was found guilty of much more serious corruption charges.
The government acknowledged that the jury last March couldn’t reach a verdict for Bernard Kilpatrick on a charge of racketeering conspiracy. But prosecutors said the judge should consider evidence that showed he worked closely with his son to strong-arm people for cash if they wanted city work.
Bernard Kilpatrick deserves a prison sentence somewhere between 27 to 33 months, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a court filing Friday. The 72-year-old returns to court on Thursday, a week after Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in prison.
“Kilpatrick flagrantly used his son’s position as mayor to elicit more money for himself, for little to no work performed,” the government said.
Bernard Kilpatrick held himself out as a savvy consultant who could help people cut through red tape if they wanted to bid on city business. He declared income of $1.3 million while his son was mayor and made more than $600,000 in cash deposits, according to evidence.
Bernard Kilpatrick was recorded telling Detroit convention center contractor Karl Kado that his work could be extended for 10 years if Kado didn’t meet with federal investigators. He also was caught telling a sludge company representative that a contract would be killed if bribes weren’t delivered.
Nonetheless, the jury acquitted Bernard Kilpatrick of attempted extortion and convicted him only of filing a false tax return for 2005. At trial, his defense attorney portrayed him as a sharp-elbowed consultant, not an extortionist.
Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in prison Thursday, one of the longest sentences in recent cases of corruption in the U.S. He resigned as Detroit mayor in 2008. Another codefendant in the case, contractor Bobby Ferguson, was sentenced to 21 years in prison for his role in the corruption scandal.
Prosecutors say Kwame Kilpatrick was the mastermind of a “pay-to-play” system for the provision of city goods and services which compromised vast swaths of city government, including the water and sewer system, the convention center, the pension system, casino developments and recreation centers.
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