Ex-Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s sentence commuted by Trump

Biba Adams
·3 min read

Detroit’s current mayor, Mike Duggan, called Kilpatrick’s release ‘a decision President Trump got right.’

In his last presidential action, Donald Trump pardoned or commuted the sentences of more than 100 people.

On that lucky list is former Detroit Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick, who had served a quarter of his prison sentence.

In a 2019 letter former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick wrote to Trump, he praised the now-former president, saying that he has “shaken up the entire world,” calling that “a great thing to behold.” (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
In a 2019 letter former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick wrote to Trump, he praised the now-former president, saying that he has “shaken up the entire world,” calling that “a great thing to behold.” (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

“This commutation is strongly supported by prominent members of the Detroit community, Alveda King, Alice Johnson, Diamond and Silk, Pastor Paula White, Peter Karmanos, Representative Sherry Gay-Dagnogo of the Michigan House of Representatives, Representative Karen Whitsett of the Michigan House of Representatives, and more than 30 faith leaders,” according to the White House statement.

“Mr. Kilpatrick has served approximately 7 years in prison for his role in a racketeering and bribery scheme while he held public office,” the statement noted. “During his incarceration, Mr. Kilpatrick has taught public speaking classes and has led Bible Study groups with his fellow inmates.”

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Once considered a rising star in the Democratic party, the former mayor was elected to office in 2001 at only 31 years of age. The son of longtime Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for over a decade, spoke at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

He resigned from office in 2008 amid a sex scandal. In 2013, he received a 28-year sentence for corruption crimes including racketeering, bribery, extortion and fraud.

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Rumors have swirled about a Kilpatrick pardon or commutation since last spring, when prominent Michigan leaders lobbied for his release amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a 2019 letter Kilpatrick wrote to Trump, he praised the now-former president, saying that he has “shaken up the entire world,” calling it “a great thing to behold.” The letter included a 20-page attachment rejecting the federal case for which he was convicted. He ended the letter declaring he would not “re-offend” and asked for the opportunity to be a father to his children and grandchildren.

Trump commuted the sentences of 70 Americans, and he pardoned 73.

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Detroit’s current mayor, Mike Duggan, called Kilpatrick’s release “a decision President Trump got right.”

“Kwame Kilpatrick is a person of great talent who still has much to contribute,” said Duggan early Wednesday. “I know how close he is to his three sons, and I could not be happier for them being together again.”

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