At Kilpatrick's sentencing hearing, attorney Harold Gurewitz said his client had been "disgraced" and his accomplishments forgotten, The Detroit News reported Sunday.
U.S. prosecutors want U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds to send Kilpatrick to prison for at least 28 years when she sentences the former mayor on Thursday.
Gurewitz said the publicity about Kilpatrick over the past decade had "mostly ignored his life as a son, husband, father and friend" as well as his "substantial accomplishments" as a state legislator and mayor.
Kilpatrick and a friend, Bobby Ferguson, were convicted in March on charges they ran a criminal enterprise and used city funds to finance high-priced lifestyles.
The attorney said Kilpatrick was responsible for repaving more streets "than during any prior administration," built new recreation centers and "showed up at crime scenes," the Detroit Free Press reported.
Gurewitz also urged the judge to reject unsubstantiated claims the mayor's illegal actions were responsible for the city's bankruptcy.
The lawyer argued Kilpatrick was already being punished because he had become "infamous, destitute and disgraced.
Ferguson also is due to be sentenced Thursday.