Defense lawyer calls Kilpatrick sentence "excessive"

Defense lawyer calls Kilpatrick sentence "excessive"

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DETROIT, Mich. (WJBK) -

A federal judge sentenced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Thursday to 28 years in prison for his role in a public corruption scandal that cost the city millions. The sentence was a victory for prosecutors, who had recommended Kilpatrick serve at least that amount of time in prison, while defense attorneys argued for no more than 15 years.

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade says the sentence sends a "powerful message" that corruption won't be tolerated. The investigation took years, but McQuade says it was "money well spent."

Former Special Agent Andy Arena says he sent a message to Kilpatrick long ago: "I made some public statements early on about how it's not going to be business as usual, to send a message out to these guys: 'Look, if you do this you're going to get caught.' I made some statements saying 'Look under your bed, look over your shoulder, we're coming for you.' And you know, some people chuckled and thought it was funny. I didn't mean it to be funny and I don't think anybody's laughing now."

Yet others are less than pleased with the sentence.

"I think that what they're asking for is excessive, and that's about all I can say about it," Mike Rataj, Bobby Ferguson's attorney tells Fox 2's Charlie LeDuff.

Adolph Mongo, a former advisor to Kilpatrick, calls the sentence "ridiculous." Mongo explains: "[Kilpatrick] could kill 17 people here in the city and got ten years. He'd have been out walking the streets. But having said that, he needed to go to jail. But what about the folks that enabled him to do all this stuff that's walking free? It seems like justice is blind, but they have a problem when it comes to black & white justice - so this is black justice."

LeDuff also caught up with "Tony," a man who previously served time with Kilpatrick behind bars. Tony says the pair worked out together and ate together often, and even shared a bunk for a short time. Tony had this to say about Kilpatrick's sentence: "Three decades is a lot of time. It's a lot of time alone to think, and worry about the things that's going on out here that you can't touch no more. But then, being away from your family like that for so long, and not being able to have that bond with your family, it's so much. Because I know I went through so much when I was there." Tony recommended Kilpatrick continue to have faith and to read and study.

Demonstrators also protested the sentencing, in support of Kilpatrick, outside the courtroom Thursday.

In March, Kilpatrick, 43, was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, fraud, extortion and tax crimes. The government called it the "Kilpatrick enterprise," a years-long scheme to shake down contractors and reward allies. He was doomed by his own text messages, which revealed efforts to fix deals for a pal, Bobby Ferguson, an excavator who got millions of dollars in city work through the water department.

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