Detroit mayor ordered jailed after bond violation
|Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick listens during a hearing in court on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2008 in Detroit. Judge Ronald Giles ordered the mayor to jail for violating terms of his bond|
DETROIT (AP) -- Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, charged with perjury and other felonies for his testimony in a civil trial, was ordered to jail Thursday because he violated his bond by taking a quick trip to Canada without notifying authorities.
Kilpatrick apologized and acknowledged that he made a mistake when he visited Windsor, Ontario, minutes away from Detroit, for city business last month. But District Judge Ronald Giles was not moved, saying he needed to treat the mayor like any other defendant.
"What matters to me ... is how the court overall is perceived and how if it was not Kwame Kilpatrick sitting in that seat, if it was John Six-Pack sitting in that seat, what would I do? And that answer is simple," Giles said.
It was a stunning outcome, exceeding even what prosecutors had sought. And it came two days after Kilpatrick's mother, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, survived a Democratic primary election that was dominated by her son's legal woes.
Outside the Wayne County jail, just blocks from the courthouse, construction workers in hardhats and fluorescent vests ate lunch and kept an eye out for the sheriff's van that took Kilpatrick to the underground entrance by early afternoon.
"Did they bring him in yet?" one yelled.
The mayor will wear a standard green jumpsuit like other inmates but be placed in his own cell "because he's a high-profile inmate," said John Roach, a spokesman for the county sheriff. "He will not be in the general population."
Kilpatrick and former top aide Christine Beatty are charged with perjury, misconduct and obstruction of justice, all tied to their testimony in a civil trial last year. At the heart of the case: steamy text messages contradicting their claim that they didn't have a romantic relationship.
Kilpatrick and Beatty waived their right Thursday to a preliminary exam next month. That means their case now goes directly to Wayne County Circuit Court.
At the end of the morning proceedings, prosecutor Robert Moran talked about the mayor's trip to Canada and asked Giles to ban Kilpatrick from any additional out-of-state travel. He called it a flagrant violation that could have been avoided by a simple phone call.
"It's not serious to him that he's a criminal defendant. ... This court should be outraged," Moran told the judge.
Kilpatrick apologized and said, "I've been living in an incredible state of pressure and scrutiny" for seven months - a reference to the public disclosure of the text messages.
He said he dashed to Windsor to discuss the sale of Detroit's share of a tunnel between the U.S. and Canada, a deal proposed as a way to fill a hole in the city's budget.
"We got the deal back on track. ... It wasn't a spur of the moment, willy nilly, I can frolic in Canada" trip, Kilpatrick said.
Told he must go to jail, Kilpatrick stood up and, accompanied by a courtroom deputy, walked through a doorway behind Giles' chair. He was not handcuffed.
"I think it's the most extreme measure he can take," defense attorney Jim Thomas told The Associated Press as he dashed a few blocks to circuit court to try to overturn Giles' ruling.
But Circuit Judge Thomas E. Jackson asked for a transcript and said he would wait until 9 a.m. Friday to take up the matter, guaranteeing at least a night in jail for the mayor.
Thomas pleaded with Jackson to act Thursday, but the judge refused, sternly declaring: "I just gave you my answer."
Another defense attorney, Jim Parkman, said they would ask Jackson to order an electronic tether or some other conditions to get Kilpatrick out of jail.
The mayor's chief of staff, Kandia Milton, named a deputy mayor just days ago, will run the city in his absence.
The mayor has resisted calls for resignation or a plea bargain as his legal woes pile up. But when asked about a possible deal, mayoral spokesman Marcus Reese told said Thursday that "talks are ongoing" between prosecutors and the defense.
Still pending: the results of a state police investigation into allegations that the mayor physically interfered with a sheriff's detective who was trying to serve a subpoena on Kilpatrick's friend July 24. Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox said he would announce Friday morning whether he intends to bring an assault charge against Kilpatrick.
The detective and another investigator said Kilpatrick burst onto the porch at his sister's house, shouting obscenities and shoving one of them.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy praised the decision to put the mayor behind bars.
"Judge Giles treated this defendant as any other defendant would have been treated," she said.
After learning that Kilpatrick was going to jail, Gov. Jennifer Granholm postponed two afternoon events in Grand Rapids to hold "internal meetings." Spokeswoman Liz Boyd had no other immediate comment.
In May, the Detroit City Council asked Granholm to invoke a little-used state law and remove Kilpatrick from office for misconduct. A hearing could be held Sept. 3.
City Council President Ken Cockrel Jr. would succeed Kilpatrick if the mayor resigns or is forced from office.
The council accuses Kilpatrick of violating the city charter by not revealing a confidentiality agreement linked to an $8.4 million lawsuit settlement.