Kwame Kilpatrick returns to family in Georgia following release from prison

Kilpatrick, once a political rising star, was serving 28 years for an array of crimes before Donald Trump commuted his sentence.

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who recently had his 28-year prison sentence commuted by now-former President Donald Trump in his term’s final hours, has been photographed in Atlanta with his family. 

A brief video posted on social media by a member of Kilpatrick’s family showed him hugging two of his sons and his sister, Ayanna, after arriving at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Another family photo of him and his father, Bernard, standing together is making the rounds on social media sites. 

Kilpatrick was convicted in March 2013 on 24 federal felony counts, including mail fraud, wire fraud and racketeering, his crimes related to a scheme of providing kickbacks to family and friends for city contracts. That October, Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison. He and his associates are said to have defrauded the Motor City’s pension funds for more than $95 million through shady investment deals that never materialized. Kilpatrick has often been cited as one cause of Detroit’s unprecedented 2013 bankruptcy.

His mother, Carolyn Jean Cheeks Kilpatrick, served in Congress for 14 years after nearly two decades as a state representative, a position her son won before being elected Detroit’s youngest mayor in 2001.

This picture of Kwame Kilpatrick and his father, Bernard, is making the rounds on social media, courtesy of family and friends joyful over the younger Kilpatrick’s prison sentence commutation. (Facebook)

Bernard Kilpatrick moved to Atlanta while his son was incarcerated, following his own release from federal prison after serving time in Texas in relation to the younger Kilpatrick’s conspiracy charges. He was sentenced to serve a 15-month sentence for tax fraud. 

At the time his prison term began in 2014, the elder Kilpatrick was 72. It was the only time he’d ever faced criminal charges. 

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Former Michigan state representative Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, a friend of the Kilpatrick family, was listed as one person who supported Kwame Kilpatrick’s prison release.

“If you’re connected to Detroit, people feel his sentence was excessive to begin with,” she told Detroit media outlets. “He paid a debt to society. He served seven years, close to eight years, being away from his family away and from his mother.”

“He could lead amazing work for criminal justice reform,” Gay-Dagnogo also said. “I believe Kwame Kilpatrick will be an excellent example of redemption and grace.”

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Kilpatrick was not pardoned, which means that he is still expected to pay $5 million in restitution, as ordered by the federal government. 

Now 50, he remains popular in his home city, despite his incarceration. Because of his sentence, however, he cannot hold office again in Detroit or Michigan for another 20 years. 

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