DETROIT, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- A federal judge gave former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick the sentence requested by prosecutors Thursday -- 28 years behind bars.
U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds said the evidence was overwhelming that Kilpatrick and his longtime friend, Bobby Ferguson, a contractor for the city, defrauded Detroit in a bid-rigging and kickback scheme, the Detroit Free Press reported. Ferguson is to be sentenced Friday.
"One thing is certain," Edmunds said. "It was the citizens of Detroit who suffered."
Testimony showed that Kilpatrick and Ferguson put pressure on city officials to keep their scheme running, Edmunds said. She also said Kilpatrick lived well while presiding over what has become one of the poorest cities in the United States. Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in July.
Edmunds said she based her sentence on an estimate of $4.6 million that Kilpatrick made from his crimes. While his lawyers pointed to his achievements as mayor, Edmunds said he should not be given credit for doing the job he was elected to.
Kilpatrick, 43, asking the judge for a fair sentence, acknowledged that he "really, really messed up."
"I want the city to heal. I want the city to prosper. I want the city to be great in the end," he said. "I want the city to have the same feeling it did in 2006. when the Super Bowl was here. ... Everybody felt like this was their town."
More than 30 city officials have been implicated in Kilpatrick's crimes. His father was also convicted of a single count of tax evasion.