DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Taxpayers paid slightly more than $1 million for the legal defense of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his father.
The figures were released Wednesday by the Detroit federal court. Lawyers for Kwame and Bernard Kilpatrick were paid by the public because the pair said they couldn’t afford the legal bills. It’s a common step in state and federal courts.
Kwame Kilpatrick is serving a 28-year prison sentence for corruption. His total legal bill was $813,806, with 52 percent going to attorney James Thomas.
“That comes from an order from Judge Nancy Edmunds today,” said WWJ Legal Analyst Charlie Langton. “Now, the constitution says you have a right to a court-appointed lawyer, and if you can’t afford one, the taxpayers will pay for it … Well, we did.”
Bernard Kilpatrick’s legal costs added up to about $353,000. His attorney, John Shea, received about $225,000. The elder Kilpatrick was convicted of a tax crime and is serving a 15-month prison sentence.
Langton said the length of the trial should be noted.
“Putting this in perspective, this was a six-mouth trial; and honestly, it would have been very difficult for a lawyer to do anything else during that six month trial, ” Langton said. “And then there was about a year or so before that that the lawyers had to get ready, and part of the attorney fees approved today had to go to accountants and jury consultants as well.”
Kwame Kilpatrick apparently hasn’t given up his legal fight. A dramatic video, narrated in part by Kilpatrick’s mother, asks the public to donate money to something called the Freedom & Justice Trust, for the purpose of paying for an appeal in the case. [More on this HERE].
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