Chief federal defender Miriam Siefer told the Detroit Free Press that a federal magistrate judge has granted Bernard Kilpatrick's request for a publicly funded attorney.
The Free Press reported Tuesday that John Shea of Ann Arbor will represent the elder Kilpatrick in his dealings with federal prosecutors.
Kilpatrick, once a high-ranking Wayne County official, became a lobbyist days before his son Kwame took office as mayor of Detroit.
He has not been charged with a crime and has denied any wrongdoing.
Investigators looking into corruption at city hall have reportedly been told by contractors that Bernard Kilpatrick took money in exchange for helping them win city contracts.
People who haven't been indicted can request a court-appointed attorney if they are facing potential charges or are called to appear before a grand jury, legal experts said.