Lawmaker asks Trump for clemency for ex-Detroit mayor
DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan lawmaker who is considering seeking Kwame Kilpatrick’s old job is asking President Donald Trump to grant clemency to Detroit’s imprisoned ex-mayor.
The request was in a letter handed Thursday to Trump by Democratic state Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo at a White House reception.
“The president was receptive,” Gay-Dagnogo told The Detroit News. “He listened intently, said ‘thank you’ and he would look into it.”
Kilpatrick, 49, resigned as Detroit mayor in 2008 following a text-messaging sex scandal involving his chief of staff. In 2013, a federal judge sentenced the Democrat to 28 years in prison for extortion, bribery, conspiracy and other crimes during his years in office. He is due to be released in 2037.
Gay-Dagnogo and others were at the White House for a reception celebrating Black History Month. She has said she’s forming a committee to explore a 2021 run for Detroit mayor.
Other state legislators from Detroit and church leaders signed the letter. Prominent Detroit businessman and Compuware co-founder Peter Karmanos also has said he would like Trump to pardon Kilpatrick.
“No one is arguing the former mayor’s guilt or innocence,” Gay-Dagnogo told supporters Thursday in an email. “What we’re seeking (to have) is a conversation about ... the disproportionate sentencing that men of color experience at every level of the system.”
U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said the sentence was fair and just.
“As the elected mayor, he ran a criminal enterprise that corrupted wide swaths of city government in the early 2000s — at a time when city residents desperately needed honest and effective city services,” Schneider said in a statement Thursday.
Both Kilpatrick and Gay-Dagnogo are African American. Trump’s re-election campaign is pursuing black voters and said it plans to open Black Voices for Trump Community Centers in Detroit and more than a dozen other cities.