Thursday, September 04, 2008

Kilpatrick Pleads Guilty, Leaves Office

From the streaming video, and forgive me if I get some of this wrong.

Kilpatrick pleads guilty to two felonies, both obstruction of justice, the rest are dropped. 120 days in jail, $1 million in restitution, 5 years probation, resignation of office immediately. No running for office during probation. Surrender law license. Turns pention over to city. Waves right to trial. Admits lying under oath. Details here.

In a rushed monotone, Kilpatrick told the court: "I lied under oath in the case of Gary Brown and Harold Nelthrope versus the city of Detroit ... I did so with the intent to mislead the court and jury, to impede and obstruct the disposition of justice."

Some confusion as to when he officially leaves office - News says "immediately", Freep prints "two weeks". Reports say he has been packing up stuff for months.

Kilpatrick has plead "no contest" to one felony in the case with Mike Cox, sentence to run concurrently with the four months on the other plea deal.

The deal is essentially the same one Cox took off the table yesterday -- Kilpatrick will plead to one felony and Cox will dismiss the second felony charge he brought after Kilpatrick allegedly assaulted two deputies in July as they tried to serve a subpoena at the home of his sister, Ayanna.

When told the news at the convention, Republicans applauded and cheered. Cox then likened the process to making sausage. "There is a lot of pig squealing and blood and a lot of messiness." Cox sees this as a "great day for the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan". While it will be good for everyone to finally move on from this, it's hard to see how this tragic and costly scandal that results in an elected official stepping down from office constitutes as a "great day".

Ken Cockrel Jr
Ken Cockrel Jr. has already begun to assemble a staff. It's unclear as to whether Detroit will hold a special election in May, or if Cockrel will serve until the next regularly scheduled general election in November of 2009.

Council President Kenneth Cockrel Jr. said he's prepared to take over today if Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick steps down amid a plea agreement, and said he's already put together the start of a potential staff.

He declined to be specific about who's on his short list but said he's likely to name a new chief of staff and deputy mayor. That would mean Kilpatrick's chief of staff, who is also acting as deputy mayor, Kandia Milton, would be out, among many other appointees expected to either resign or be fired.

Cockrel was at the convention in Denver - AP has that story and more background here.

This likely means that Granholm's hearing is cancelled - although it seems they would have to meet formally to wrap up the legal loose ends. But maybe not - watching a live shot now from the hearing room where they just removed the water bottles from the bench...

UPDATE: Paperwork ready to transfer power, but still confusion as to when that will take place. Granholm reconvenes hearing at noon, perhaps to suspend or dismiss? Not sure on that either. Detroit's top cop Ella Bully-Cummings resigns.

Freep has been great about getting the news up first...

UPDATE 2: Granholm suspends proceedings - adjourns hearing until resignation becomes effective on Sept. 18th, at which time hearing will be cancelled if everything goes as planned. If not, hearing reconvenes on the 22nd.

"Today this sad but historic story is coming to an end," Granholm said. She said she was "asking us to author a new chapter together."

L. Brooks says "it's not cause for celebration". Better get on the batphone and tell that to no-class Cox and the cheering Republicans at the convention...