Controversy-ridden former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in prison for racketeering and conspiracy in a US federal court on Thursday, a surprising end to the formerly popular politician's career.
Kilpatrick, mayor of Detroit for six years, was convicted of over two dozen crimes last spring, according to the Associated Press, and was accused of spending $840,000 over his actual salary.
"A man with the charisma and ability of Mr. Kilpatrick chose to use his talents on personal aggrandizement and enrichment when he had the potential to do so much for the city," said Judge Nancy Edmunds prior to imposing the sentence at the federal courthouse, according to the Associated Press. The judge said the sentence would be "sufficient but not greater than necessary" for his crimes.
The 43-year-old Kilpatrick appeared to be sorry for his wrongdoings, telling the judge: "I'm ready to go so the city can move on," according to CBS News. "The people here are suffering, they're hurting. A great deal of that hurt I accept responsibility for."
Some reacted with anger to the sentence, accusing lawmakers of an unfairly harsh reaction to Kilpatrick's crimes. "I think the judge could have been merciful. I think I would have liked to have seen the judge to look at the good that the man did and that he has a family," said Rev. Malik Shabazz to the Detroit News.
Detroit is currently struggling through bankruptcy and a falling population, and some view Kilpatrick as a symbol of the city's troubles, writes The New York Times.
“Kilpatrick is not the main culprit of the city’s historic bankruptcy, which is the result of larger social and economic forces at work for decades," said Kilpatrick's prosecutors in court documents, according to the Times. "But his corrupt administration exacerbated the crisis.”