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Published: Friday, 8/8/2008

Detroit mayor charged with 2 felony assault counts

ASSOCIATED PRESS
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DETROIT - Moments after a judge ruled that Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick could be released from jail if he pays a $50,000 bond, Michigan's attorney general announced he was charging the mayor with two felony assault charges stemming from a confrontation between Kilpatrick and a sheriff's detective.

The detective accused the mayor of pushing another investigator while recently trying to serve a subpoena on Kilpatrick. The two counts of assaulting or obstructing a police officer are each punishable by up to two years in prison.

"In my almost 20 years, first as a prosecutor and now as an attorney general ... I cannot recall ever seeing let alone hearing of a situation where a police officer trying to serve a subpoena was assaulted," Attorney General Mike Cox said at a news conference.

Kilpatrick spent Thursday night in a one-man jail cell with no TV for violating his bond in a criminal perjury case that has dogged him for months. Then Wayne County Circuit Judge Thomas Jackson altered the ruling of the lower court judge who ordered the mayor to jail.

Jackson said District Judge Ronald Giles went too far by not attaching some kind of cash bond to his ruling.

In order to get out of jail, Kilpatrick must pay a $50,000 cash bond and wear an electronic tether. He won't be allowed to travel.

Cox, meanwhile, announced the assault charges after state police wrapped up an investigation of the confrontation between Kilpatrick and a sheriff's detective, who accused Kilpatrick of the pushing incident in July while the investigator was trying to serve a subpoena on Bobby Ferguson, a Kilpatrick ally and possible witness.

Brian White, who works for the Wayne County sheriff's office, said Kilpatrick came outside of a house belonging to his sister, Ayanna, and threw him into another investigator. White didn't fall but said he may have a slight hip fracture.

Kilpatrick attorney Jim Thomas said the mayor will fight the assault charges.

"It's an allegation. Let's take it step by step," he said.

White is a lead investigator in Kilpatrick's perjury case. The mayor and a former top aide are charged with perjury, misconduct and obstruction of justice, all tied to their testimony in a civil trial last year. At the heart of that case: steamy text messages contradicting their claim that they didn't have a romantic relationship.

To remain free while the case moves through court, Kilpatrick was required to notify authorities about business that required out-of-state travel.

He admitted violating that condition when he went to Windsor, Ontario minutes from Detroit on July 23 to discuss the sale of the city's portion of a tunnel connecting the U.S. and Canada. He didn't call prosecutors or inform the court.

Saying he wanted the mayor treated like any other defendant, Giles on Thursday ordered the leader of the country's 11th-largest city jailed. Kilpatrick was transported to jail in a sheriff's van, photographed, given a green jumpsuit and placed in a one-man cell for high-profile people. He wore a tan suit to his court hearing Friday morning.

Earlier Thursday, Kilpatrick and Christine Beatty waived their right to a preliminary exam in the perjury case. That means those charges now go directly to Wayne County Circuit Court. Arraignment for the pair was set for Aug. 14. Both deny the charges.

From earlier editions of toledoblade.com.

DETROIT - Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was jailed yesterday for violating bond in his perjury case, his pleas for leniency rejected by a judge who made it clear the mayor would get no special treatment.

Mr. Kilpatrick, charged with perjury and other felonies over his testimony in a civil trial, apologized and acknowledged that he made a mistake when he visited Windsor, Ont., minutes away from Detroit, for city business last month.

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," Judge Giles said.

It was a stunning outcome, exceeding even what prosecutors had sought.

The jailing occurred two days after Mr. Kilpatrick's mother, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, survived a Democratic primary election that was dominated by her son's legal woes.

Mr. Kilpatrick was photographed yesterday and given a green jumpsuit like ones worn by other inmates. He will be treated like any other prisoner, "no better, no worse," Sheriff Warren Evans said.

But there are a few differences because Mr. Kilpatrick is classified as a high-profile inmate.

"He will not be in the general population. He'll have his own cell [and] no direct contact with other inmates," said John Roach, a spokesman for the sheriff.

Mr. 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.

Mr. Kilpatrick and Ms. Beatty waived their right yesterday 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 Judge Giles to ban Mr. 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," Mr. Moran told the judge.

Mr. Kilpatrick apologized.

"I've been living in an incredible state of pressure and scrutiny" for seven months, the mayor said, a reference to the public disclosure of the text messages.

The mayor had paid $7,500 - 10 percent of his bond in the perjury case - to remain free, along with other conditions, including notifying the court about leaving the state on city business.

He said he dashed to Windsor to discuss the sale of Detroit's share of a tunnel between the United States 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, Mr. Kilpatrick said.

Told he must go to jail, Mr. Kilpatrick stood up and, accompanied by a courtroom deputy, walked through a doorway behind Judge Giles' chair.

He was not handcuffed.

"I think it's the most extreme measure he can take," defense attorney Jim Thomas said as he dashed a few blocks to circuit court to try to overturn Judge Giles' ruling.

But Circuit Judge Thomas Jackson asked for a transcript and said he would wait until 9 a.m. today to take up the matter, guaranteeing at least a night in jail for the mayor.

Mr. Thomas pleaded with Judge Jackson to act yesterday, but the judge refused. "I just gave you my answer," the judge said.

Another defense attorney, Jim Parkman, said they would ask Judge Jackson to order an electronic tether or some other conditions to get Mr. 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 his resignation or a plea bargain as his legal woes pile up.

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 a friend of Mr. Kilpatrick on July 24.

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox said he would announce today whether he intends to bring an assault charge against Mr. Kilpatrick.

Defense attorneys predicted some kind of charge, calling it a "done deal."

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 Mr. Kilpatrick was going to jail, Gov. Jennifer Granholm postponed two afternoon events in Grand Rapids to hold "internal meetings."

In May, the Detroit City Council asked Ms. Granholm to invoke a little-used state law and remove Mr. Kilpatrick from office for misconduct. A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 3.



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