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Disgraced Detroit mayor gets 28 years for corruption

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick appears in Wayne County Circuit Court for his sentencing October 28, 2008 in Detroit, Michigan
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick appears in Wayne County Circuit Court for his sentencing October 28, 2008 in Detroit, Michigan

Disgraced Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in a federal prison on corruption and extortion charges.

The sentence comes as the city of Detroit is seeking to shed massive debts he helped rack up in the nation's largest municipal bankruptcy.

Kilpatrick, 43, was convicted in March of two dozen criminal counts following a sweeping federal investigation into the rigging of municipal and state contracts.

Some 33 other people -- including city workers and contractors -- have also been convicted as a result of the investigation.

“This case is not so much about punishing for the past as it about shaping the future," US Attorney Barbara McQuade said.

"A significant sentence like this one will deter other officials from stealing from the people and will attract honest public servants to office.”

Known as Detroit's 'hip hop mayor,' Kilpatrick resigned in 2008 after he was caught lying under oath during a torrid police whistle blower case.

He pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice charges and served four months in jail for lying during the investigation of a hushed-up stripper party at the mayoral mansion and an affair he had with his chief of staff.

The charges were filed after Kilpatrick abruptly instructed the city to award 8.4 million dollars to settle wrongful dismissal charges by three police officers who said they had been fired for investigating the mayor and the party.

He was indicted two years later on the sweeping corruption charges.

Prosecutors argued that Kilpatrick held up city contracts until winning bidders agreed to pay huge fees to his friend, Bobby Ferguson, who received at least $83 million that he shared with Kilpatrick.

He also raided his campaign coffers and accepted bribes from contractors seeking work with the city.

The jury also heard evidence that corruption went back as far as Kilpatrick's time as a state when he diverted a state grant aimed at helping Detroit children to a non-profit run by Ferguson and his wife that instead spent the money on personal expenses.

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