DETROIT (CBS Detroit) Rumors are swirling about the fact President Barack Obama is vising the federal facility that disgraced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick now calls home.
Will paths cross for the contemporaries who were at one point both considered among the hottest stars on the political horizon? When Obama was a senator from Chicago in 2007, he sought Kilpatrick’s endorsement for his presidential run.READ MORE: Ribs RnB Music Festival Kicks Off This Weekend In Downtown Detroit
Is Obama there to consider giving Kilpatrick a pardon for the racketeering scheme he carried out while in office?
Will they spend time together?
No one’s talking.
But what we do know is this: The website Vice News announced Obama will on Thursday visit the El Reno federal prison in Oklahoma,where Kilpatrick is, to participate in an interview for a VICE special on America’s criminal justice system that will air on HBO.
“It will make Obama the first sitting US president to visit a federal prison,” Vice touts.
As part of the visit, Kilpatrick is set to tour the facility in central Oklahoma, and talk with selected inmates. El Reno is a medium-security facility that houses 1,300 inmates convicted of violating federal law.READ MORE: Judge Says Michigan Gov. Whitmer Won't Have To Testify In Abortion Lawsuit
Notably, the prison was home to Jason Hernandez, a prisoner convicted on drug charges whose life sentence was commuted by Obama in 2013.
“There’s an emerging consensus in this country — on both the right and the left — that the way we treat criminal offenders is utterly broken and weakening our society in profound ways,” said Shane Smith, founder of VICE.
“Visiting El Reno with President Obama — the first-ever visit to a federal prison by a sitting president — will give our viewers a firsthand look into how the president is thinking about this problem, from the policy level down to one on one conversations with the men and women living this reality. It’s going to be fascinating.”
VICE noted a New York Times report that says in coming weeks, Obama is expected to issue orders commuting the sentences of dozens of federal prisoners convicted of non-violent drug offenses.
Kilpatrick and his family have been silent the last couple of years, though a photo emerged this spring of a Kwame who looked much different than the swaggering, diamond-earring and custom suit mayor of old.
Kilpatrick was convicted of a raft of federal charges in 2013 related to kickbacks and other moneymaking schemes he carried out with pals while in office. He was sentenced to 28 years behind bars.MORE NEWS: MDHHS Lifts No-Contact Recommendation In Huron River Chemical Spill
Though his family has sought a presidential pardon, federal law prohibits pardons for anyone imprisoned less than five years.