News Hits has a new hero. Her name is Kym Worthy.
Dignified and eloquent, the Wayne County prosecutor hit all the right notes at Monday's press conference announcing the multi-count felony indictments of Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his former chief of staff, Christine Beatty.
Conspiracy. Perjury. Official misconduct. Obstruction of justice.
That's what this case is about. We've said it before, but will say it again: Kilpatrick's philandering is not the issue. The self-described "God's guy" may be a world-class hypocrite, but wearing a false face is not a criminal offense. If it were, a lot of us would be spending some time behind bars.
We were heartened that the prosecutor kept the focus where it belongs. Worthy is convinced that crimes were committed, and that there were victims of this wrongdoing: the three harassed cops who ended up bringing whistleblower lawsuits against the city.
"Let me be very clear," said Worthy. "This was not an investigation focused on lying about sex. Gary Brown's, Harold Nelthrope's and Walter Harris' lives and careers were forever changed. They were ruined financially and their reputations were completely destroyed because they chose to be dutiful police officers."
Forget about the mayor's desperate claims that his privacy has been invaded. This is clearly a public issue, because Detroit's taxpayers are also victims.
"Our investigation has shown that public dollars were used, people's lives were ruined, the justice system was severely mocked, and the public trust trampled on. This case is about as far from being a private matter as one can get."
The mayor's high-priced criminal attorney announced during a later press conference that the mayor will fight these charges in court, and will eventually be exonerated. Mouthpiece Dan Webb pointedly noted that he'll argue that this is a case of selective prosecution since the alleged perjury took place during a civil trial, and that he could find no record of Wayne County previously bringing charges against anyone for lying in a civil case.
But the whistleblower trial wasn't like a divorce proceeding or a contract dispute. This was a lawsuit involving public officials who abused their power: A police investigation into allegations of criminal wrongdoing was under way, and that investigation was stopped cold in an attempted cover-up. For those officials to lie under oath in such a case certainly warrants prosecution.
Webb also talked about the inherent unfairness of those calling for the mayor to leave office before he is allowed to have his day in court.
We say the mayor has already had his day in court. He and Beatty took the stand in an attempt to justify their actions toward the officers who brought the whistleblower suit. A jury of 12 people didn't buy their claims, instead deciding unanimously that it was the cops who were telling the truth about being wronged.
The actions of Kilpatrick and his chief of staff cost the city's taxpayers $8.4 million in settlements and hundreds of thousands of dollars more in attorney fees.
A criminal conviction isn't necessary to justify the call for Kilpatrick's resignation. There is already more than enough proof that he has failed the city, and continues to fail the city by staying in office.
He is, truly, unworthy.
This paper weighed in weeks ago with our opinion regarding what the mayor needed to do if he truly had the best interests of the Detroit at heart: Just go.
But he's not going to do that.
The self-described Kwame Kilpatrick "roller-coaster" is going to keep circling the track day after day, with the city continuing to be damaged more and more by the nauseating ride this mayor is taking us on.News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]