Ex-Detroit mayor denies threat to prosecutor

AP News
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Posted: Dec 07, 2009 6:48 PM

Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick denied in court Monday that he made threats to a prosecutor during a jailhouse telephone call to his wife while he was serving time following a text-messaging sex scandal that led to his resignation.

Two 15-minute conversations _ recorded in November 2008 _ were played Monday afternoon in Wayne County Circuit Court during Kilpatrick's hearing about restitution payments.

"When we get the loot, we're going to take her all the way out," Kilpatrick told his wife, Carlita.

Kilpatrick admitted the "her" was Kym Worthy, head of the prosecutor's office and a former judge. Worthy charged Kilpatrick and his ex-top aide in March 2008 with perjury, misconduct and obstruction of justice after sexually explicit text messages revealed both lied during an earlier whistleblowers' trial about being romantically involved and their roles in the firing of a police official. The charges led to his plea deals and eventual resignation.

Kilpatrick told Assistant Prosecutor Athina Siringas that the conversation wasn't a threat.

"When we get the million dollars to pay off this restitution, the prosecutor will be out of this process," he said. "That's all we talk about."

Kilpatrick was ordered to pay $1 million to the city as part of plea agreements in criminal cases from September 2008. Worthy's office contends he has not been truthful about his ability to continue paying $6,000 each month in restitution. Kilpatrick claims the amount he owes should be cut in half because his salary as a salesman for Dallas-based Covisint has decreased.

Prosecutors questioned Kilpatrick at length Monday about his finances and money spent following his release from the Wayne County Jail in February 2009 and relocation to the Dallas area. What emerged was a pattern of big, luxurious spending: Bank records show Kilpatrick spent large sums at restaurants, a plastic surgery center, golf courses and a nail salon in the Dallas area even though he claims he must reduce his restitution payments to the city.

In June, more than $6,800 in ATM withdrawals and debit card purchases were made from Kilpatrick's personal checking account, according to documents presented Monday.

He spent $595 at a Gucci store and $158 at a nail salon this past June, Siringas said. Siringas also said $800 was spent at one point over the summer on Omaha steaks. Another transaction was made at a shop called "Nothing Bundt Cakes."

"That's what you chose to spend the money on?" Siringas asked Kilpatrick, who invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege several times.

Kilpatrick also acknowledged that on April 9, he withdrew $17,270 from a bank account shared with his wife. That day a $15,770 cashiers check was issued to Plastic Surgery Center of Dallas. Another cashiers check for $1,500 was issued to Metro Anesthesia.

Siringas asked Kilpatrick to say what the money was spent on. Kilpatrick's response was it was "something very personal for my wife."

It later was revealed that Kilpatrick reported $127,059 in income on his 2008 tax return, but Siringas alleged that between October 2008 and this past October, he spent about a half-million dollars.

As Monday's hearing ended, Groner threatened Kilpatrick with contempt of court if he does not turn in paperwork detailing a sales meeting that caused the hearing to be adjourned last month. Groner gave Kilpatrick 48 hours to give him the letter.

In seeking the adjournment, defense attorney Michael Alan Schwartz had told Groner on Nov. 18 that the sales pitch might bring in $300,000 in commissions for Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick still owes about $980,000 in restitution.