CHICAGO — Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick headed straight to jail Monday just hours after a jury found him guilty of 24 counts in a months-long federal corruption trial.
The verdicts capped off a five-month trial that seemed to take a back seat to the current dramatic events of the city's fiscal crisis, which is expected to culminate in a formal state takeover as soon as Wednesday.
Mayor Dave Bing said in a statement he was pleased the trial was over and that "we can finally put this negative chapter in Detroit's history behind us."
Prosecutors said Kilpatrick ran a "private profit machine" and criminal enterprise to enrich himself and his friends during his time as mayor, from 2001 to 2008.
The former mayor and his friend and city contractor Bobby Ferguson were accused of running an elaborate pay-to-play scheme with big-rigging, bribery, kickbacks, and contractor shake downs. Kilpatrick also used a non-profit fund intended for impoverished Detroiters as his personal bank account, and led a luxurious lifestyle while overseeing the deficit-ridden city, prosecutors said.
The jury found Kilpatrick guilty of 24 of 30 charges, which ranged from federal racketeering, extortion, bribery, and mail fraud to tax evasion. The jury deadlocked on three counts and acquitted him of another three. Some of the charges were levied under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act. The RICO charges carry maximum 20-year sentences.
His attorneys asked for him to remain out on bond until his sentencing date, but the judge denied the request and ordered Kilpatrick, 42, directly to jail.
Ferguson was found guilty of nine of 11 counts of racketeering and extortion. Ferguson was also ordered directly to jail.
Kilpatrick's father, Bernard Kilpatrick, was found guilty only of one charge of filing a false tax return out of four counts.
Altogether the jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on 40 of 45 counts.
In a press conference held after the verdicts were announced, one juror said the some of the evidence "turned my stomach."
Kilpatrick was elected mayor of Detroit in 2001 at the age of 31, the city's youngest mayor. He resigned in 2008 and pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice charges in a separate case that involved an extramarital affair with his chief of staff. He spent 14 months in prison for violating probation in that case.