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Bobby Ferguson sentenced to 21 years in prison

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DETROIT (WJBK) -- A contractor convicted of tag-teaming with a Detroit mayor to commit corruption worth millions was sentenced Friday to 21 years in federal prison.
 
Bobby Ferguson's punishment was more than double what his attorneys had sought. It came a day after former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in prison, one of the longest penalties in recent cases of public corruption in the U.S.
 

"Bobby Ferguson was the catalyst at the center of an historic and unprecedented criminal scheme," U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds said.
 
Evidence at trial showed Kilpatrick often went to bat for his buddy and punished contractors who didn't make room for Ferguson on excavation projects. Prosecutors said $73 million of Ferguson's $127 million in revenue from city work came through extortion.
 
Ferguson was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, extortion and bribery. Kilpatrick, mayor from 2002 to fall 2008, was convicted of the same crimes and more.
 
Ferguson's "criminal activity stopped only because Kwame Kilpatrick was forced to resign," the judge said.
 
Ferguson, like Kilpatrick, has been in custody since being convicted in March. Wearing tan prison clothes, Ferguson praised God and said everything presented in court has gone the government's way.
 
"In America, it seems like genocide on black people," said Ferguson, who is black. "I'm not trying to make this racist, I'm just telling you how I feel. ... The American dream is supposed to be prosperity, liberty. I just don't see it that way no more, judge."
 
Kilpatrick's father, Bernard, was part of the corruption trial, too, and was convicted of a tax crime. He will be sentenced Oct. 17.

Before sentencing Judge Edmonds threw some strong words at Ferguson.  Here are some excerpts from Fox 2 Producer Ken Martinek's live blog from the courthouse:

MARTINEK BLOG AT 11:34: Judge Edmunds says the effect on moral in Detroit can't be understated. Completely undermined trust in government. Says he was ruthless in putting minority contractors out of business. Ferguson had a strangle-hold on the business community. Needs to be substantially punished.

MARTINEK BLOG AT 11:34:Got nothing but raps on the knuckles for his previous crimes, not likely to abandon his threats and bullying.
Ken Martinek, Fox 2 News: 

MARTINEK BLOG AT 11:35: Says there are serious difference between Ferguson's conduct and the Mayor. Says he's not a pubic servant so that would lower his sentence. Has no elected accountability to citizens. Says Kwame had more charges with convictions.

MARTINEK BLOG AT 11:35: However! she's not going by the guidelines. total sentence of 21 years.

On Thursday, Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in prison for corruption.

Kilpatrick was convicted earlier this year of two dozen crimes, including racketeering conspiracy, bribery and extortion. The 43-year-old Democrat served as mayor for nearly seven years.

 
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