200 Text Messages to be Released in Detroit Obstruction Case

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A Michigan appeals court has declined to block the release of some 200 text messages at the heart of a criminal case against former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s ex-chief of staff.

Judge Timothy Kenny intends to keep some of the messages under seal because they involve communications between the parties and their lawyers and spouses.

The messages, which are attached to a court filing by prosecutors, are alleged to show that Kilpatrick and Christine Beatty used the city-issued pagers, the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press reports.

Beatty’s lawyers have fought against the release of the messages before her trial, which is set for January. Judge Kenny gave Beatty’s lawyers until Thursday to obtain a stay from the Michigan Court of Appeals. But the appellate court declined to get involved today.

Last month, Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice for lying under oath and resigned from office. Under the plea agreement, he will serve four months in jail, pay up to $1 million in restitution, surrender his law license and serve five years’ probation. He is expected to begin serving his sentence next month.

Beatty opted for trial on charges of felony conspiracy, perjury, obstruction of justice and misconduct in office. She faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

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