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Detroit Mayor Charged in Litigation-Related Sex Scandal

Posted Mar 24, 2008 1:45 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, 37, and his former chief of staff were charged today in an obstruction of justice case related to their testimony in a police whistle-blower case last year.

The criminal case could also turn up the heat concerning complaints that lawyers representing the city have sided with the mayor in promoting an $8.4 million settlement of the whistle-blower case and another action that critics say was intended to help conceal an affair between Kilpatrick and his ex-top aide, Christine Beatty, 37.

Both face multiple counts including perjury, both within and outside court; obstruction; and, in the mayor's case, misconduct in office, reports the Associated Press.

However, the mayor says, reading from a prepared statement in a press conference today, that he expects "complete exoneration" once all the facts are known. Hence, Kilpatrick's attorney in the criminal case, Winston & Strawn chairman Dan Webb, says he is recommending that the mayor not resign from office, another Associated Press article reports.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy says the investigation is ongoing and that she has talked about it with the U.S. attorney for the area, but did not provide additional details, AP notes.

As discussed in earlier ABAJournal.com posts, a judge's order early this year exposed to public view a treasure trove of documents that allegedly establish the affair and at least cast doubt on the truthfulness of testimony by the mayor and Beatty in the whistle-blower case last year.

Critics question the conduct of city lawyers involved in recommending an $8.4 million settlement of the whistle-blower case and another lawsuit (one described the situation as an "ethical minefield"), and also wondered why a local law firm had been representing both the mayor and Beatty.

In addition to the other lawyers involved, the mayor, too, has a claim to membership in the legal fraternity: He has a degree from Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University, according to an Associated Press biography.

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