Is a former Detroit mayor getting out of prison?
Appeals have not gotten him out of jail, but reports have said COVID-19 could.
The Detroit Free Press, citing a non-profit organization and a former in-law, reported Friday afternoon that former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick may be granted early release from a minimum-security Louisiana prison that has become a hotbed for COVID-19 cases.
There has been no confirmation from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Detroit, or the prison, that Kilpatrick will be released.
The New York Times reported on Thursday that the federal prison at Oakdale reported eight inmate deaths from coronavirus, and a union representing corrections officers had filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor that claimed prison officials refused to isolate inmates that showed symptoms.
The Free Press quoted a former brother-in-law of the ex-mayor, who said that Kilpatrick may soon be released from prison. A press release obtained by the paper from the Ebony Foundation, which had been working to get Kilpatrick released from jail, also reported that development.
The Ebony Foundation is a non-profit group working to get Hispanic and African-Americans out of jail to either await trial, or for crimes they believe they did not commit. The foundation sent a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump in February requesting clemency for Kilpatrick.
Kilpatrick, 49, was the youngest mayor in Detroit history when he took office in January 2002, and he began a second term in 2006. His tenure as mayor was rocked with controversy, including nepotism, alleged misuse of city funds, and an affair between the then-married Kilpatrick and his chief of staff.
He resigned as mayor in September 2008 after pleading guilty in a previous trial. One of those charges was a violation of bail conditions when Kilpatrick travelled to Windsor to meet with then-Mayor Eddie Francis. Francis was cleared of wrongdoing by Windsor’s integrity commissioner.
The mayor was convicted in a federal court in 2013 on additional public corruption charges. He was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison and was not due to be released until 2037. He has served seven years of that sentence.
Kilpatrick’s legal team had filed numerous appeals on grounds that the sentence was excessive. All have been rejected thus far.