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Lawyer: Ex-Mayor Kilpatrick never turned down plea

  |   April 26, 2012 at 3:41 PM
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DETROIT, April 26 (UPI) -- The lawyer for former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick says his client never turned down a plea deal from federal prosecutors in his racketeering conspiracy case.

"I rejected nothing. There's nothing to reject," defense attorney James Thomas told the Detroit Free Press Wednesday. "We're preparing for trial, and that's all there is to it."

Thomas was reacting to a report by The Detroit News that Kilpatrick passed up an offer that would have sent him to prison for 15 years. The former mayor could be sentenced to 30 years if he is convicted. His trial doesn't start until September.

The U.S. attorney's office and the FBI have declined to discuss whether a deal was offered to Kilpatrick.

Kilpatrick, 41, is accused of using his office to enrich himself. His father and two others -- Kilpatrick friend Bobby Ferguson and former city employee Victor Mercado -- also are charged. Two others -- former aide Derrick Miller and ex-fundraiser Emma Bell -- have pleaded guilty and are expected to testify against Kilpatrick.

Kilpatrick pleaded guilty in 2008 to obstruction of justice and resigned as mayor. He agreed to pay the city $680,000 restitution in the plea-bargain deal that enabled him to avoid trial on charges including lying under oath regarding a text-message scandal.

He went to prison in May 2010 for failing to make payments based on a finding he had hidden or squandered hundreds of thousands of dollars

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