Judge Shines Light on Secret Pact to Settle, Hide Text Messages
Posted Feb 6, 2008 12:49 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A Michigan judge has ordered the release of documents indicating that Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick settled a police whistle-blower lawsuit to try to hide text messages showing he lied about his relationship with his chief of staff, the Detroit Free Press reports.
Wayne County Circuit Judge Robert Colombo ordered release of the secret settlement agreement and a deposition of the police officers’ lawyer, Mike Stefani, who explained how the settlement was reached.
An anonymous source told the Detroit News that the settlement was triggered by Stefani’s threats to file court documents referring to text messages pointing to an affair between Kilpatrick and his former chief of staff, Christine Beatty. Both had denied an affair when they testified in the officers’ lawsuit.
Legal experts told the Detroit Free Press in a separate story that the lawyers defending the city and the mayor could come under scrutiny if they knowingly used secret pacts to conceal the crime of perjury.