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Shabazz: Probation or community service for Kilpatrick

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DETROIT, Mich. (WJBK) -

A federal judge sentenced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Thursday to 28 years in prison for his role in a public corruption scandal that cost the city millions. The sentence was a victory for prosecutors, who had recommended Kilpatrick serve at least that amount of time in prison, while defense attorneys argued for no more than 15 years.

Minister Malik Shabazz, also an activist and long-time friend of Kilpatrick's, argues his sentence should have been probation or community service.

"We got murderers walking around in the streets of Detroit. We got rapists - serial rapists - walking around in the streets of Detroit. I mean let's just look at him. Who has he murdered? Who has he raped? Who has he beaten? Where's the mercy?" Shabazz asks.

In March, Kilpatrick, 43, was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, fraud, extortion and tax crimes. The government called it the "Kilpatrick enterprise," a years-long scheme to shake down contractors and reward allies. He was doomed by his own text messages, which revealed efforts to fix deals for a pal, Bobby Ferguson, an excavator who got millions of dollars in city work through the water department.

"It's a tragedy for him, for his family, for his children, and it's a tragedy about somebody with great potential from Detroit who has literally fallen from grace," former Detroit city councilwoman Sheila Cockrel tells Fox 2's Robin Schwartz. Cockrel served for 16 years and once called the Kilpatrick administration "rotten to the core."

Other city leaders have issued statements in response to the sentencing.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson's statement:

"This is the end of a long Greek tragedy. What bothers me most is the sacrifice of a potentially brilliant career. The guy was intelligent, charismatic, witty and greedy as hell."


Detroit Mayor Dave Bing's statement:

"Today's sentencing sends a strong message to everyone in public office. As we move forward with Detroit's transformation, honesty, transparency, and integrity in city leadership will be paramount."

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