M.L. Elrick and Joe Swickard, Detroit Free Press, August 7, 2008
Judge Ronald Giles sent Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to jail moments after the mayor pleaded for forgiveness and admitted he made an unauthorized trip to Windsor on city business.
“The first day you were before me, I thought I made it clear to you that this court comes first in everything,” Giles said. “I do understand that you’re under . . . pressure . . . but I have to look at how the system should be run and perceived by the public.”
“At the beginning of this case you were given every privilege that could be given to you with regard to travel,” Giles said, adding that he later imposed restrictions after learning Kilpatrick had been abusing his privileges.
“At that time I made it perfectly clear . . . don’t come back . . . ,” he said.
Giles revoked Kilpatrick’s $75,000, 10% bond and ordered him jailed.
Sheriff Warren Evans said Kilpatrick was being booked in to the jail shortly before 1 p.m.
Giles’ comments came after Kilpatrick told the judge he had been living under incredible pressure for the past 7 months.
“I don’t believe that there is a person that’s ever been through this process that respects it more than I do,” Kilpatrick said, referring to the legal proceedings stemming from the eight felonies ranging from conspiracy to perjury to misconduct in office to obstruction of justice filed against him in March.
“Last week was a tremendous wake-up call to me,” he said, referring to Giles’ rebuke last month after he allegedly assaulted law enforcement officials trying to serve a subpoena.
Kilpatrick admitted violating the terms of his bond by traveling to Windsor without notifying the court. He said he was sorry.
“My life has been revolutionarily transformed and it’s transforming in front of the eye of these media people who don’t know me at all,” he said, referring to what he called intense scrutiny. “Your honor, I ask for your forgiveness . . . it will never happen again.”
He said his sons were watching these proceedings because he asked them to. “I told them that I did something wrong,” he said.
Kilpatrick further said he was not “frolicking” in Windsor, but trying to make a deal that would let him avoid laying off more than 1,000 city workers.
Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Robert Moran said the mayor’s pleas rung hollow.
“Now that he’s caught, he’s taking responsibility . . . he thought he got away with it,” Moran said.
Prosecutors had argued before Kilpatrick addressed the court that the mayor was not taking the case against him seriously.
“The defendant left the state of Michigan, left the country, without prior notice to the court,” Moran said, referring to a recent trip to Windsor. “All you have to have him do is call me . . . he has my cell phone, he can call me anytime . . . we would never say the mayor of Detroit cannot travel for an emergency matter.”
Moran said he found out about the trip from the media.
“That is a flagrant violation of this court’s order,” Moran said. “At the very least we are going to ask the court to cut off all travel to the defendant . . . for business or personal, because he violated the very generous terms that this court has set up.”
Thomas acknowledged that the mayor violated the terms of his bond, but said it was an emergency.
“Who was dying?” Giles asked.
“The City of Detroit was sick,” Thomas said, adding that the mayor was trying to save a $75-million deal that would help balance Detroit’s budget.
Last month, Giles put new restrictions on Kilpatrick’s travel after Wayne County law enforcement officials accused him of assaulting them as they tried to serve a subpoena. The judge also revoked the mayor’s personal recognizance bond and required him to post $7,500 cash to remain free.