Prosecutors have charged Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick with perjury and other criminal counts tied to his effort to conceal and deny an affair with his former aide, Christine Beatty. Beatty was hit with perjury and obstruction charges as well. Things are likely to get worse before they get better for both of the defendants.
The case against Kilpatrick is remarkably strong and he recently lost a critical appeal to prevent the release of much material in the case, click here.
He has been criticized lately for “playing the race card” in speeches to try to rally his dwindling support. He also staged an apology in a church and left many rather cold, click here.
One of the more interesting questions will be whether counsel for Beatty will seek a deal. With her cooperation, a conviction would seem unavoidable. Even without, the case is remarkably strong. He will have a difficult time taking the stand (as would she) given the prospects of a withering cross examination. Certainly, his last testimony was hardly beneficial since it is the basis of the current charges. Yet, the failure to take the stand is often fatal in such cases. We can also expect his security staff to be called, particularly given his concern that they may have heard at least one sexual tryst.
We can also expect cooperation agreements with some collateral players, who may be at risk of conspiracy or obstruction charges. Such deals tend to yield damaging testimony and could add pressure for a plea for the principal players.
A plea would come at a high cost for both of them. Kilpatrick today did not indicate that he will be resigning anytime soon, click here. While he may resist resigning, the pressure will be high as with Spitzer. Resigning removes a bargaining chip with prosecutors – something you can give away in return for less time in jail. Under any plea, he would have to do some time in jail or the prosecutors would be accused of special treatment. Usually, high ranking public officials are given harsher sentencing due to their betrayal of the public trust. In this case, Kilpatrick wastes millions of dollars in litigation fees and damages to try to cover up the affair. Like Bill Clinton, he made the a sexual matter into a criminal matter with his dishonesty.
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