Detroit City Attorney Given Only 90 Day Suspension For Lying To City Council, Judge, and Bar in Kilpatrick Scandal

While Michigan’s Attorney Grievance Commission sought disbarment, a state discipline panel headed by Assistant United States Attorney William Sauget has handed down only a 90 day suspension for Detroit City Attorney Valerie Colbert-Osamuede. Colbert-Osamuede who is accused of lying to the Detroit City Council, a Wayne County Circuit Court judge and the Attorney Grievance Commission about a settlement and alleged coverup benefitting then-mayor (and now convicted felon) Kwame Kilpatrick. Despite this trifecta of false statements and the panel’s conclusion that she was still not sure she is telling the truth, Sauget’s panel still refused to hand down a disbarment or something more substantial as a punishment.

The suspension and $22, 497.65 fine (they appear not to round up on cents) seems rather disconnected by the finding of the panel that it was skeptical when Colbert-Osamuede claimed that she simply did not recall a rather unique confidential agreement designed to cover up text messages showing that then-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and a top aide lied about their affair during a 2007 whistle-blower trial. She claims that the settlement simply slipped her mind when repeatedly asked about the case by the city council, a judge, and investigators. The settlement included an $8.4 million payout.

The panel wrote “One is hard-pressed to believe an attorney involved in the litigation would misplace, forget or simply lose sight of such an important document.” However, it then imposes just a 90 day suspension when expressing skepticism that the lawyer had testified truthfully. This is presumably still the position of Colbert-Osamuede –meaning that she is still offering testimony that the panel believes is probably untrue. Yet, the panel decided that Colbert-Osamuede was unlikely to repeat her violation.

I have tried to confirm reports that Colbert-Osamuede remains the city attorney. If true, it would mean that a city attorney can give false or misleading testimony to the city council, a judge, and state investigators and not only face a short suspension but keep her job representing the city of Detroit.

Source: Detroit Free Press as first seen on ABA Journal.

13 thoughts on “Detroit City Attorney Given Only 90 Day Suspension For Lying To City Council, Judge, and Bar in Kilpatrick Scandal”

  1. If there are enough negative articles from respected members of the legal community [like this article] this ridiculous result may be set aside. I know of a case in NY where the lawyer stole $2M from clients and was only given a 5 year suspension. Ultimately he was forced to surrender his license after numerous articles and editorials lambasting this decision.

    I seem to remember a President who was disbarred for committing perjury. If she lied to the State Bar, she perjured herself.

  2. Raff,

    There were and I am sure other competing ideologies going on at present….. The Board Also is going against another female judge, who happens to be black….maybe they did not want to have racial issues….

  3. The amount of the fine is kinda funny. Other than that this is crazy. I agree with farrlaw. It shouldn’t be disbarment and a fine, it should be jail time if she was under oath.

  4. Raff,

    Any statement to the AGC if it got as far as it did was under oath….. Believe this or not, I can understand her not remembering which lie she was covering up during this whole fiasco……. Once it got out that she agreed to extortion by the plaintiffs attorney in direct violation of an existing order….. Heads rolled…..

  5. “If you want to make someone mad, tell them a lie. If you want to make them
    furious, tell them the truth”.

  6. I cannot from the above story figure out what she did. She does have a name that is tough to write or utter. Perhaps they should have disbarred half of her hyphenated name and let her choose which name to inflict on the public.

  7. Was this attorney under oath when she lied to the judge? If so, she should be facing charges instead of this laughable suspension. If she still is on the job as the city attorney, something smells in Detroit.

  8. Government is a Power Brokerage Cartel with massive confiscatory and protection powers. Do you really expect anything different? Why do you think that our founding fathers tried to limit the power of govenrment? Didn’t work but it was a valiant effort. Government cannot work because it is antithetic to the necessary liberty that mankind requires. Nobody wants to be a slave to another man or any institution they create despite somepeoples desire to enforce such actions. It good to be the King or what ever you want to call the Power Brokers but it is never good for the majority.

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