Thursday Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in prison as punishment for about two dozen crimes, including extortion, bribery, conspiracy and racketeering. It's a victory for the prosecution. The Defense had been asking for 15 years. Typically defense attorneys ask for probation.
"Kwame's going to come out a ruined man. Not only is his reputation ruined already, but I suspect he's not going to survive his 20 plus years in prison," said Ron Bretz, a Criminal Law Professor at Cooley Law School.
Kilpatrick's term could be reduced for good behavior, meaning he could get out in a little less than 24-years-- when he's 67.
"It's alleged that Kwame's criminal organization extended back to his time in Lansing as a state representative--although he wasn't on trial for any of those things, but that's what they believe." said Bretz.
Professor Bretz said the defense will undoubtedly appeal the sentence.
"He really didn't apologize for [the crimes]. He did apologize in the vaguest ways, I think he was quoted as saying he really messed up. 'I let my ego and pride take over,' but then he specifically denied stealing anything from the city and that's really his biggest crime."
Kilpatrick quit office in 2008, not because of bribing city contractors, but because of a scandal involving sexually explicit text messages and an extramarital affair.
"The biggest shame is--what a waste of talent this is. This is a very bright man, very talented guy. He could have been a great leader," said Bretz. "It was just like out of a bad movie. He had bag men who picked up the money. If it wasn't so sad that it happened to our City of Detroit, my home town--it wouldn't be absurd, it would be a comedy."
Federal agents say Kilpatrick spent about $840,000 beyond his salary during his time as mayor.
Three of his co-conspirators are awaiting sentencing. Bobby Ferguson will go before a judge Friday. Bernard Kilpatrick, his father, is up for sentencing in a week. A date has not been set for former Water Department head Victor Mercado.
Kilpatrick created a pay-to-play system for city goods and services-- including the city's water and sewer systems, convention center, casino developments, recreation centers, and pension system.
"You know the sad thing is what it did to his mother's career. His mother was a respected congresswoman and it pretty much destroyed her career," said Bretz. "That's one of the things he apologized for today-- that he destroyed his parents. His father was convicted of a crime, and his mother pretty much lost her career."