Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick sits in court during an emergency bond appeal hearing in front of Judge Thomas Jackson at the Wayne County Third Circuit Court today in Detroit.
(BRYAN MITCHELL/Associated Press)
Mayor's attorney promises fight
A magistrate today set a $25,000 bond for Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick in connection with two felony assault charges filed by the Michigan Attorney General's office.
Magistrate Renee McDuffee of the 36th District Court ordered the mayor to post 10% of a $25,000 bond, or $2,500 for release on the new charges. The mayor posted the bond this afternoon and was released.
McDuffee said she could impose conditions only on the case before her, the two assault charges stemming from an altercation with Wayne County law enforcement officers trying to serve a subpoena.
McDuffee ordered Kilpatrick to have no contact with witnesses in the assault case.
Kilpatrick, who spent the night in Wayne County Jail on an unrelated criminal case, appeared on a television screen in 36th District Court to face the two felony assault charges.
McDuffee entered a not guilty plea for the mayor. Kilpatrick made no comment. McDuffee then scheduled a preliminary examination for Aug. 15.
Kilpatrick attorney James Thomas argued for a lenient bond, saying that the mayor already has posted bond at considerable personal expense in relation with the perjury case against him.
During a new conference in Detroit this morning, Attorney General Mike Cox charged Kilpatrick with two counts of felonious assault for allegedly shoving a sheriff's deputy into his partner last month.
"We are charging defendant Kwame Kilpatrick with assaulting ... police officers in the furtherance of their duties," Cox said.
The latest charges pose yet another threat to the livelihood of the 38-year-old mayor, who has steadfastly remained in office while battling eight other felony charges and possible removal hearings by the City Council and Gov. Jennifer Granholm. The other criminal charges all relate to the text message scandal exposed in the Free Press in January.
After Cox's news conference, Thomas said the mayor's side would fight the new charges as they fought in Circuit Court ealier today with "law and common sense." He said of the new charges, "it's just an allegation, let's take it step by step." At the suggestion the latest case was on the fast, track, he laughed and said, "Mike Cox could dismiss it in one day."
Cox said he will push for the case to go to trial within 90 days.
"Yesterday, Defendant Kilpatrick stood in the 36th District Court and stated he doubted 'that there had ever been a person who had gone through the legal process who respects it more than I do.' " Cox said, quoting the mayor. "His actions of July 24th make a total mockery of his statement yesterday. The actions of the defendant here are really an assault on the judicial system. These officers were victims of an assault against them, but our judicial system is no less a victim."
The charges against Kilpatrick each carry a penalty of up to two years in prison upon conviction. If he is convicted of a felony, he would automatically be removed from office.
"This is a very straightforward, simple case" that prosecutors hope to bring to a preliminary hearing within two weeks, Cox said.
"It is a very serious case. ... I cannot recall, ever, seeing, let alone hearing, of a situation where a police officer trying to serve a subpoena was assaulted," Cox said, adding that he has been a prosecutor for 20 years.
The new charge stems from a July 24 altercation with Wayne County Sheriff's Detective Brian White, who testified that Kilpatrick shoved him into his partner at the mayor's sister's house in Detroit. Kilpatrick's lawyers said the mayor gently escorted White away from the house.
White said he was trying to serve the mayor's friend, Bobby Ferguson, with a subpoena for a hearing in the text message case against Kilpatrick and his former chief of staff Christine Beatty, who also is facing multiple felonies in that case.
White testified in a bond hearing the day after the altercation that he saw a truck from Ferguson's contracting company in front of the house on LaSalle Boulevard on the city's west side. He and JoAnn Kinney, a former Detroit police officer who now works as an investigator in the prosecutor's office, approached the house to ask whether Ferguson was there.
Kinney testified that Kilpatrick burst through the door, hurled expletives at her and White, then shoved White into her. Kinney, who is black, also said that the mayor made a racial remark to her about White, who is white.
It was never explained why the mayor was at his sister's house during the altercation, which happened about 4 p.m. on a weekday. The home is next door to the home of his mother, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick.
Cox announced the following day that his office would review the case after state police concluded their investigation.