Detroit Braces for 'Roller Coaster' Kilpatrick Case

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Detroit's Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick learned Monday whether he'd face perjury or other related charges. A county prosecutor has been investigating the mayor after the publication of racy text messages allegedly written between him and a former top aide. The messages indicate that the two may have lied on the witness stand during a whistleblower trial last summer.

The controversy that some have dubbed "Textgate" has dominated water cooler conversation in Michigan for months. It's clear that Detroit's political establishment is going through something of a constitutional crisis.

Last week, the Detroit City Council took the unprecedented step of passing a resolution calling on Kilpatrick to resign. Though it's nonbinding and largely symbolic, Councilwoman Sheila Cockrel says the resolution sends a message.

"It is a vote of no-confidence in the capacity of the mayor to lead this city at this time, and it is a tragedy, an enormous talent that has been squandered," Cockrel says.

The City Council is conducting its own probe into the circumstances surrounding the settlement of that whistleblowers lawsuit. Council President Ken Cockrel Jr. says Detroit can no longer afford what the mayor himself calls the "Kwame Kilpatrick roller coaster."

Noah Ovshinsky reports from Detroit Public Radio.

Detroit Mayor's Racy Texts Lead to Perjury Charges

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Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was charged Monday with perjury after prosecutors said he sent sexually explicit text messages that appear to contradict his sworn denials of an affair with a top aide.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy also charged Kilpatrick with obstruction of justice and misconduct in office.

Kilpatrick's former chief of staff, Christine Beatty, 37, who denied that she and the mayor had a romantic relationship in 2002 and '03, also was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice.

The eight-count criminal indictment, announced Monday by Worthy, includes six felonies. A perjury conviction could bring up to 15 years' imprisonment and could force Kilpatrick to relinquish the mayor's office.

"This case was about as far from being a private matter as one can get. Honesty and integrity in the justice system is everything. That is what this case is about," Worthy said at a news conference.

Speaking later, Kilpatrick said he looked forward to "complete exoneration once all the facts have been brought forth."

"I will remain focused on moving this city forward," he said.

The cell phone text messages allegedly sent by Kilpatrick, 37, a one-time rising star and Detroit's youngest elected leader, contradict statements he and Beatty gave under oath during a whistleblower trial last summer when each denied a romantic relationship.

From NPR reports and The Associated Press



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