The other day ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick tweeted: “If this case was in another State, not paid for by taxpayers, & my life was not on the line, this ish would be laughable.”
Well, yes, perhaps almost laughable for Kwame.
Depressing for the rest of us.
For the past two weeks, the government has delivered some damaging testimony in his public corruption trial. Ultimately it will be up to the jury to decide if Kwame walks or sulks behind bars for many years. If convicted, count on him going off to prison for at least 12 years. I don’t sense this judge has a lot sympathy for the defense.
As an observer, the longer I watch the trial, the more I can’t help but see Kwame as man who reigned supremely over this impoverished kingdom, whose concerns about living a lavish lifestyle overrode his concerns of his subjects.
I’m not laughing.
I only met him once, and briefly during jury selection when we were both waiting for an elevator. He seems like a nice guy.
He jokes with the reporters and smiles and even kids with M.L. Elrick, one of the two Free Press reporters who published the contents of his text messages, which led to his ultimate demise.
I give him credit for that.
But he hasn’t always been laughing. The other day when his chief fundraiser Emma Bell delivered some rather damaging testimony about giving him $200,000-plus in kickbacks from donations, he looked as if someone had punched him in the stomach. When he walked out at the end of the day, he had sweat stains under both his armpits.
As this trial goes on -- it should last about four months -- I can’t help thinking how much damage as mayor he caused the city financially, spiritually and image wise.
To think of the trial as a waste -- or laughable -- is to assume these allegations are all rather frivolous.
His close friend Derrick Miller, who worked in the administration, probably doesn’t think so. He faces possible prison time. He's pleaded guilty to taking bribes and passing on cash to Kwame and is slated to testify against him in this trial.
Some of my colleagues have remarked about Kwame praying in court at the defense table while waiting for court to resume. He’s a spiritual man. His tweets reflect that. In one he says: “To God be the Glory!”
And frankly, the way the prosecution’s evidence has come in so far, it may take an act of God for him to walk free.
In end, I can say, if it weren’t for our taxpayer dollars going toward his prosecution, the allegations being so serious and Kwame blowing such a great opportunity to run the city, then yes, I would agree with Kwame: This would be laughable.