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Perjury, Obstruction Charges Brought Against Detroit Mayor, Aide

Posted by blazzin on March 25, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

DETROIT —  Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was charged with perjury and other offenses Monday — and got a stern lecture about the importance of telling the truth — after a trove of raunchy text messages contradicted his sworn denials of an affair with his chief aide.

The 37-year-old “Hip-Hop Mayor” who brought youth and vitality to the job in this struggling city of 900,000 could get up to 15 years in prison for perjury alone and would be automatically expelled from office if convicted.

Ignoring mounting demands that he step down, Kilpatrick said: “I look forward to complete exoneration once all the facts have been brought forth. I will remain focused on moving this city forward.”

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy brought charges of perjury, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and misconduct against the popular but polarizing mayor. In announcing the charges, she delivered something of a civics lesson on the importance of telling the truth under oath.

“Some have suggested that the issues in this case are personal or private,” said Worthy, a Democrat like the mayor. “Our investigation has clearly shown that public dollars were used, people’s lives were ruined, the justice system severely mocked and the public trust trampled on.”

far from being a private matter as one can get.”

Kilpatrick’s former chief of staff, Christine Beatty, 37, who also denied under oath that she and Kilpatrick had an intimate relationship in 2002 and 2003, was charged with many of the same offenses. A call to her lawyer was not immediately returned.

Both the mayor and Beatty turned themselves in for booking in the afternoon. No trial date has been set.

The mayor’s lawyer, Dan Webb, said forcing Kilpatrick to resign now would punish him before he has had his day in court.

The charges could be the beginning of the end of Kilpatrick’s six-year career as the youngest man elected mayor of Detroit, one of America’s largest and most troubled cities, with deeply entrenched poverty made worse by the downturn in the auto industry.

Worthy began her investigation in late January, the day after the Detroit Free Press published excerpts from 14,000 text messages that were sent or received in 2002-03 from Beatty’s city-issued pager.

The messages called into question testimony Kilpatrick and Beatty gave last August in a lawsuit filed by two police officers who said they were fired for investigating claims that the mayor used his security unit to cover up extramarital affairs.

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