I interviewed Kilpatrick exclusively in 2010 just days before he was ordered to serve 14 months in jail for a probation violation stemming from an obstruction of justice case.
Kilpatrick told me back then that he had a spiritual breakthrough; that he prayed on his knees every night and that Pastor T.D. Jakes was offering him spiritual guidance.
“I know my reckless behavior disappointed people,” Kilpatrick told me during an hour-long interview. “I know I let people down. I carried that guilt but at some point, you have to shake it off, you have to forgive yourself and stand up and start walking forward.”
“I don’t think my punishment was just about lying about an affair,” he added. “I think my punishment was turning my back on God, who sent me to that position as mayor.”
I hope Detroit can heal and move forward now that Kilpatrick’s sensational trial has ended.
“A lot of kids looked up to Kwame Kilpatrick,” Sanford Miles told The Detroit News. “Now a young black kid in the urban communities that knows that one day I could be a mayor or a president now has his hopes diminished because … Kwame is not a good role model any more, and a lot of kids are hurt by this.”
Here are just a few of the many comments posted on Tom Joyner’s Facebook page after the Kilpatrick verdict was announced.
Andee: “How is a corrupt official who was found guilty a sad day for black people? He raped the city coffers to line his pockets, when the city desperately needed that money.”
Sylvia: “That’s just a dog gone shame! He’s got STUPID Written across his face.”
Valeria: “God bless us here in the City of Detroit. Sad Day for our former Mayor. Now we must move on. Will politicians ever learn what’s done in the dark will come to light. Justice has prevailed.”
Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Kwame’s mother, who served for three decades in the U.S. Congress, only said a few words Monday as she walked into the courthouse.
“I served for 32 years,” she told reporters. “Pray for my family.”
In my interview with Kwame Kilpatrick in 2010, he tried to convince me and the residents of Detroit that he was a changed man; someone who had learned from past mistakes and is now motivated by faith.
“Lord knows I don’t want to go back,”[to jail] Kilpatrick told me. “But I do need to say…that God had me just where He wanted me.”
State prosecutors now have Kilpatrick just where they want him, too: In prison.