Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Detroit May Get a Trial After All

According to the NYTs, Christine Beatty, the former chief of staff to Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, has rejected a plea deal and will go to trial on perjury and other felony charges.

The aide, Christine Beatty, whose racy text message exchanges with Mr. Kilpatrick began the scandal that led to his resignation, refused proposals from prosecutors that called for her to serve two to five months in prison and pay $125,000 in restitution to the city. Ms. Beatty’s lawyer, Mayer Morganroth, dismissed a five-month sentence as “unreasonable” and said she would rather fight the charges before a jury. A conviction on all charges could result in a sentence of 19 to 30 months.

For months, Ms. Beatty, who is charged with lying under oath when she swore that she had not had a sexual relationship with her married boss, had been widely expected to make a deal with prosecutors that would secure her freedom in exchange for testifying against Mr. Kilpatrick. But instead it appears that Mr. Kilpatrick, who will leave office on Thursday after he pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and no contest to assault charges, will be called to testify against Ms. Beatty. He will serve
four months in jail.

Ms. Beatty resigned in January from her $142,000-a-year job as Mr. Kilpatrick’s top aide, two days after The Detroit Free Press published text messages from her city-owned pager that suggested she and the mayor were romantically involved. She and Mr. Kilpatrick were accused of firing two police officers to prevent exposure of their relationship.Last year, the city agreed to an $8.4 million settlement with those officers and a third officer who filed a related lawsuit. Members of the City Council say Mr. Kilpatrick duped them into settling the suit without revealing the existence of a side deal barring the officers’ lawyer from releasing the damaging text messages.

For previous posts on this case, see here and here.

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