Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's sentence commuted by Trump

A little more than eight years ago, Kwame Kilpatrick began what was expected to be a 28-year prison sentence for racketeering and bribery. After eight years in prison, Kilpatrick will be released after Donald Trump commuted is sentence in the final hours of his presidency.

Kilpatrick's commutation was announced late Tuesday night and will be released from a federal prison in Louisiana. At 50-years-old, the former Detroit mayor gets a second chance. The divorced father of three said that he'd get another chance.

"I want to tell you, Detroit, that you've done set me up for a comeback," Kilpatrick said in 2008.

With his wife by his side that September day, Kilpatrick's fall from grace was only starting after an affair with his chief of staff, he then lied about it under oath and covered it up by firing then-deputy police chief Gary Brown who was investigating an alleged, but never proven, wild party at the Manoogian Mansion and subsequent murder of exotic dancer Tamara Green

He eventually lost his job and was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice plus the assault of two officers.

In 2013, he was convicted again. This time, he was found guilty of 24 federal charges including racketeering and bribery for steering water and sewerage contracts and millions of dollars to his contractor friend. He was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison but has sought clemency and even a pardon from both Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

His children have been involved as well and have been lobbying on social media for their father's release as multiple appeals were unsuccessful. 

In 2019, he wrote to Trump and asked to be released early, and in February of 2020 several Detroit politicians and pastors wrote a letter seeking clemency and delivered it to the President. It did not receive support from U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider.

"Mr. Kilpatrick received a fair and just sentence - and also that he's only served one-quarter of his sentence, that's it. He also did tremendous damage to this city," Schneider said in 2020.

He released a statement on Wednesday saying he was still opposed to his release and that Kilpatrick was a 'notorious and unrepentant criminal'.

While 2020 didn't prove to be the year Kilpatrick would be released, 2021 did as Trump commuted his sentence, citing support from the community and his efforts behind bars teaching public speaking classes and Bible study.

"I think this is a second opportunity and a chance at regaining his life. He's been locked up for almost eight years, his children have had to serve this sentence with him," said former state representative Sherry Gay-Dagnogo.

Gay-Dagnogo delivered the clemency request to Trump and state representative Karen Whitsett also spoke to him and said she's grateful for his action on the issue.

"A 28-year sentence is far too long," said Whitsett. "Having Black men separated from their children is something I don't want to see."

Current Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan agrees, saying that Trump got this right, which is similar to what he told us almost a year ago.

"He's an enormously talented person and I think that talent could do a lot of good," Duggan said in 2020.

Kilpatrick was not pardoned so he still has the convictions on his record and still owes millions to the city of Detroit.