Once thought to be a potential presidential candidate, Kilpatrick became the mayor of Detroit at 31. Prosecutors were able to convince a jury that Kilpatrick, 43, robbed Detroit of millions of dollars through a variety criminal acts that he committed during his six-year tenure as mayor.
Kilpatrick was found guilty on 24 counts related to bid-rigging, extortion and bribery.
The 28-year sentence that Judge Nancy Edmunds gave Kilpatrick is "equal to the longest sentence" for corruption given to a public official, said U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade.
“A man with the charisma and ability of Mr. Kilpatrick chose to use his talents on personal aggrandizement and enrichment when he had the potential to do so much for the city,” Edmunds told the court. "One thing is certain. It was the citizens of Detroit who suffered."
"Kwame Kilpatrick was entrusted by the citizens of Detroit to guide their city through one of its most challenging periods," according to a memo from the prosecution. "The city desperately needed resolute leadership. Instead it got a mayor looking to cash in on his office through graft, extortion and self-dealing."
Kilpatrick addressed the crowd before his sentence was handed down. "I respectfully ask for a fair sentence, based on what happened here." he said. "I respect the jury's verdict ... I think your honor knows that I disagree with it."
Kilpatrick’s wife and children were not in attendance.