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Detroit Mayor Pleads Guilty To Obstruction, Will Quit

Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley discusses details of Kilpatrick's plea deal with Deborah Amos on 'Tell Me More'

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Noah Ovshinsky of Detroit Public Radio talks with Renee Montagne on 'Morning Edition'

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Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (left) talks with one of his attorneys while appearing in Wayne County Circuit Court for a bond hearing on assault charges. The mayor allegedly assaulted two Wayne County police officers who were attempting to serve a subpoena to the mayor's friend. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images hide caption

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Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (left) talks with one of his attorneys while appearing in Wayne County Circuit Court for a bond hearing on assault charges. The mayor allegedly assaulted two Wayne County police officers who were attempting to serve a subpoena to the mayor's friend.

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick pleaded guilty Thursday to obstruction of justice charges, agreeing to resign from office in the nation's 11th largest city as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.

Kilpatrick, 38, will serve four months in jail in a case that stems from a whistle-blower lawsuit that cost the city $8.4 million. He and former top aide Christine Beatty were charged in March with perjury, misconduct and obstruction of justice.

Kilpatrick's downward slide began in January when the Detroit Free Press published text messages between Kilpatrick and Beatty that contradicted their testimony in the 2007 trial of the whistleblower case. Kilpatrick and Beatty had each testified that they did not have an affair, but the text messages detailed their personal, sexual relationship.

The whistleblowers — former Detroit police Deputy Chief Gary Brown and former mayoral bodyguard Harold Brown — had accused Kilpatrick of retaliating against them because of their roles in an internal affairs probe of the mayor's security team.

The salacious details made national headlines and resulted in calls from civic and city officials alike for Kilpatrick to step aside. Until Thursday, Kilpatrick had refused to resign.

During Thursday's court proceedings, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge David Groner asked if Kilpatrick understood he was giving up the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

"I gave that up a long time ago," Kilpatrick replied.

Kilpatrick must also pay $1 million in restitution and serve five years on probation. Sentencing is set for Oct. 28.

Beatty did not plead guilty and will appear in court on Sept. 11. Groner said a plea deal in Beatty's case appeared likely.

City Council President Ken Cockrel Jr. will succeed Kilpatrick as mayor until a special election is held.

From NPR and wire reports