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Published: Wednesday, 8/13/2008

Judge: Detroit mayor's visit was lawful

Kwame Kilpatrick, with his wife, Carlita, listens during his third appearance in court in less than a week, this time because he visited his sister, who is a witness in an assault case. Kwame Kilpatrick, with his wife, Carlita, listens during his third appearance in court in less than a week, this time because he visited his sister, who is a witness in an assault case.

DETROIT - Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's third trip to court in less than a week turned out to be a victory for him yesterday when a judge said a weekend visit with family did not violate his bond in an assault case.

Defense attorney Dan Webb of Chicago denounced the latest issue as "truly ridiculous" and "frivolous" - the result of "hysteria" over the city's embattled mayor, who faces 10 felonies in two criminal cases.

"You've got prosecutors and media overreacting to everything this man does," Mr. Webb said outside 36th District Court.

The Michigan Attorney General's Office claimed Mr. Kilpatrick violated rules of his release in an assault case by seeing his sister, who is a potential witness for the prosecution.

But Judge Ronald Giles said the no-contact order didn't include Ayanna Kilpatrick, who had dinner with the mayor Saturday at the home of their mother, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D., Mich.).

Mother and daughter are neighbors.

"I don't see the issue," Judge Giles said as the mayor and his wife, Carlita, listened. "I really don't. There isn't an issue."

The two assault charges filed last week stem from an encounter between Mr. Kilpatrick and two investigators who were trying to deliver a subpoena at his sister's house in July in another criminal case.

Mr. Kilpatrick and his former chief of staff, Christine Beatty, were charged in March with perjury, obstruction of justice, and misconduct in office, all tied to their testimony in a civil trial.

Text messages contradict their denial of an affair, a key point in the trial last year.

Last week, Judge Giles had sent the mayor to jail in the perjury case after learning he traveled to Windsor, Ont., without notifying authorities, a condition of his bond in that case.

Mr. Kilpatrick was released Friday.

In court yesterday, defense co-counsel Jim Thomas said a magistrate who set bond rules in the assault case last week had clarified that Mr. Kilpatrick could see his sister.

"I think this is a tempest in a teapot," Mr. Thomas told Judge Giles.

The prosecutor, Doug Baker, said he was pleased to get the no-contact rules clarified.

He said Ms. Kilpatrick has declined to talk to authorities about what happened on her porch between the mayor and the investigators July 24.

In other developments:

•A group of Detroit-area Baptist pastors urged the mayor to consider resigning.

Kilpatrick spokesman Denise Tolliver had no comment.

His former pastor, the Rev. Edgar Vann of Second Ebenezer Church, was among those calling for him to step down.

•Gov. Jennifer Granholm's legal counsel, Kelly Keenan, said she has no authority to grant immunity to Mr. Kilpatrick if he chooses to testify during a removal hearing.

The Detroit City Council has asked the governor to evict him from office for misconduct.

A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 3.

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