Detroit mayor defends his happiness about Kwame Kilpatrick's early release

"I think that the world will be better off with his talent on the outside," Duggan says
By WWJ Newsradio 950

(WWJ) Disgraced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick got out of federal prison more than 15 years earlier than scheduled. Now some are questioning the current mayor's comments about Kilpatrick's release.

On President Donald Trump's final day in office he commuted the Kilpatrick's sentence — much to the surprise of many in the city, and to the dismay of those who feel the ex-mayor did a great deal of damage to Detroit.

Reacting to the news on Wednesday, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan tweeted: "Kwame Kilpatrick is a person of great talent who still has much to contribute. I know how close he is to his three sons and I could not be happier for them being together again," adding, "This is a decision President Trump got right."

While it's clear some Detroiters agree with Duggan that Kilpatrick has served enough time, many responding to the mayor on social media were taken aback by his remarks.

Barbara @RockingMotown wrote; "What is actually wrong with you? Kwame was convicted of stealing from the city of Detroit. He deserved his sentence. I am outraged at this 'pardon' of one con man by another."

Steven Wisdom XIII @StevenWisdom13 replied: "What is that supposed to mean? Ruining the city should only be punishable by 7 years in prison? I guess so."

At a news briefing Thursday, WWJ's Jon Hewett pressed Duggan to clarify his statements, given the harm Kilpatrick caused the city, and that Duggan had to oversee Detroit's emergence from bankruptcy.

"Other people may have different opinions," Duggan said. "What you got was my honest reaction... And, you know, my feeling about Kwame Kilpatrick is him playing in the office with (his sons) on the floor, knowing what kind of father he is; knowing how painful it had been to him, and knowing the amount of talent that he is."

"I think that the world will be better off with his talent on the outside doing good, and I do expect him to do good," Duggan added. "He's still a young man, and I do expect him to do good, and that's my feeling."

Despite Duggan's great expectations for Kilpatrick, the ex-mayor remains a convicted felon. As he did not receive a pardon, Kipatrick's 24 felony convictions for racketeering and other crimes still stand, and he still owes $1.5 million in restitution to Detroit.

Other than spending time with his family, it's not yet clear what Kilpatrick plans to do next. Under Michigan law, he cannot run for state or local office until 2033.

Before Trump stepped in, Kilpatrick's earliest release date had been set for January 18, 2037.