New Charges For Disgraced Detroit Ex-Mayor Kilpatrick

In this week's BackTalk segment, host Michel Martin and Tell Me More "digital media guy" Lee Hill discuss listener feedback to conversations heard on the program including sharp criticism of President Obama by Democrats. Hill also offers news updates on the legal troubles of former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick as well as on the police shooting of a seven-year-old Detroit girl earlier this year.

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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

And now it's time for Backtalk where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere and get to hear from you, our listeners. Lee Hill, our digital media guy is here with me, as he is most Fridays. Hi, Lee, what's up?

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel. Well, yesterday we had a conversation about dissenting views of President Obama, especially following his recent deal with Republicans to extend the Bush era tax cuts to the richest Americans as well as the middle class. Now, conservative commentator Lenny McAllister came on the program to say that the strong criticism of Obama by some Democrats borders racism. And of course quite a few listeners wrote to weigh in on that.

Here's a post from Bill. He writes: Ironic that a right winger would consider the Democrats calling out Obama on failing to adhere to the principles that he was elected to uphold, racist. But not one word about the obviously racist allegations of a Kenyan-born Muslim who aims to enslave the white race. More monumental hypocrisy from the right? Big surprise, he says.

MARTIN: But, in fairness, I have to say that Lenny McAllister has written many times about what he has said, or the, you know, racist elements that he has personally seen as a person who's spoken at Tea Party rallies. I just think it's fair to establish that. But thanks, Bill, thank you for writing in.

We also received this post from Robin. She writes: The list of Dem racist comments regarding Obama goes way back to Biden, Bill Clinton, Harry Reid and more. The odd thing is that the leftist media such as NPR are finally acknowledging the ongoing Dem racism. And, of course, I do have to take issue with the characterization of NPR as leftist. But, Robin, again, thank you for writing. Thank you for that, Lee.

Lee, and I see we have some updates?

HILL: Yes, Michel, more trouble, this week, for Kwame Kilpatrick. The U.S. attorney's office Wednesday issued a 38-count indictment against the former Detroit mayor and his father. Here's the U.S. attorney for Michigan's eastern district Barbara McQuade at a recent press conference.

Ms. BARBARA MCQUADE (Attorney): A federal grand jury has returned a superseding indictment charging Kwame Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick and others with racketeering conspiracy and related charges of bribery, extortion and fraud, as well as tax violations.

HILL: And, Michel, we know that Kwame Kilpatrick is already serving time for hiding assets and failing to pay restitution connected to his 2008 guilty plea in that infamous case in which he committed perjury when testifying about an extramarital affair. Again, here is U.S. attorney McQuade.

Ms. MCQUADE: Some say Kwame Kilpatrick is already in jail. What are you doing piling on? Well, he's there on state charges for failing to pay restitution. These charges are far more broad, far more sweeping, and far more significant, I believe. And we want to send a strong deterrent message that if you steal from taxpayers, you are going to be held accountable.

HILL: And, Michel, if convicted, all parties involved could face up to 30 years in prison.

MARTIN: And, Lee, another Detroit story we reported on, was the death of seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones. She was shot and killed in May during a botched Detroit police raid to find a murder suspect. The incident was captured on camera by a TV crew filming on location for the A&E reality series "The First 48." The crew was following Detroit police for an episode of the program. Well, this week the family of the young girl filed a lawsuit in U.S. district court, against A&E, claiming that the TV crew's presence made them responsible for Aiyana's death. That's a very difficult story. Lee?

HILL: And now shifting our attention to Philadelphia. In December of last year, we told you about Asian-American students at South Philadelphia High School staging an eight-day boycott after being targeted in a series of violent racially charged attacks by their African-American peers. Well, this week the Justice Department announced it has required the school district of Philadelphia to hire a consultant to focus on preventing harassment and discrimination. And that model will serve as a nationwide standard for school systems trying to prevent bullying.

MARTIN: All right, thank you, Lee. Some difficult stories this week, but important ones.

HILL: Yeah, thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: And, remember, with TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. To tell us more you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. Please remember to leave your name or go to NPR.org, click on Programs, then on TELL ME MORE and blog it out.

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