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http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080227/NEWS01/80227029

Supreme court backs document release
State's high court won't hear appeal

The Michigan Supreme Court refused today to take up Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s appeal in the text-messaging scandal.

The high court, in a 7-0 decision, sent the case back to Wayne County Circuit Judge Robert Colombo Jr. to release the remaining confidential documents that went into last year’s $8.4-million settlement two police whistle-blower lawsuits. Colombo ordered the documents released on Feb. 5 pending the city’s appeal.


“There is no FOIA exemption for settlement agreements,” the court said in its decision, referring to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act. “Moreover, a public body may not contract away its obligations under the FOIA.”


Justice Marilyn Kelly agreed with the decision, but said some of the transcript of a deposition Colombo allowed the Free Press to conduct with cops’ lawyer Michael Stefani was confidential. But because the city didn’t ask that it be redacted, Kelly said, the transcript also can be released.


There was no immediate comment from Detroit Law Department chief John Johnson Jr., who could ask the high court to reconsider today’s ruling. He also could file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Detroit, but legal experts doubted that would happen since the case doesn’t involve any federal issues.


Colombo is expected to release the documents today if the city doesn’t ask the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision.


“This is complete vindication for the idea that public officials cannot lie under oath and go behind closed doors in secrecy to make decisions with so much public money in the balance,” said Free Press Editor Paul Anger. “The public’s right to know has been upheld.”


“The city ought to end this misbegotten legal battle and release the documents,” Anger said.


The Free Press filed a Michigan Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in January after the Law Department refused to release all of the settlement documents.


The settlement involved three cops who said they were forced out of their jobs for raising questions about the mayor’s security team, questions that might cause them to discover that he was having an extramarital affair with his then-Chief of Staff Christine Beatty.


Two of the cops won a $6.5-million jury verdict in one of the suits last September. Although the mayor vowed to appeal, he settled out of court in October for $8.4 million – $8 million for the two cops who went to trial and $400,000 for a third cop whose whistle-blower lawsuit was pending.


Late last month, the Free Press disclosed the existence of text messages between Kilpatrick and Beatty showing that they lied under oath at the trial when they denied having an extramarital affair and gave misleading testimony about firing one of the cops.


The Law Department failed to tell the City Council about the text messages when it asked the body to approve the settlement.


On Feb. 5, Colombo ordered the release of all of the settlement documents and a transcript of a Free Press deposition Colombo authorized with the ex-cops’ lawyer, Mike Stefani.


Afterward, the Kilpatrick administration appealed unsuccessfully to the Michigan Court of Appeals, which upheld Colombo.


Along the way, the city gave up the fight on one document – a confidential Nov. 1 settlement agreement in which the cops and Stefani agreed to forfeit their settlement and legal fees if they ever divulged the existence of the text messages. They also agreed to alert the mayor if anyone ever asked about the text messages.


Contact DAVID ASHENFELTER at or [email protected]. Staff writer Joe Swickard contributed to this report.
 

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I am so curious to see these...the media will be all over it. I am not a Kwame fan and this certainly could be detrimental to his career and his life. Now what is Kym Worthy going to do?
 

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Well, hopefull, Kim Worthy will prosecute him and his girl friend for perjury and crucify them both!

His wife better divorce him quick, while he still has a few bucks in his pocket for her.

I am hoping the State will make him pay that $9 million back.
 

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I'm an just so sick of hearing how it's a private matter! It's no longer private when it costs the city millions of dollars! There are students sharing text books and buildings falling to pieces around them.
 

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Funny thing is that we haven't heard anything we didn't know already. I hope more details start coming out. The only thing now is that there is paper to back up that the pimp that runs Detroit was lying thrught his teeth...
 

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Very true!
And, they said that the Detroit News will be taking the City to court if they try to block the release of those 14,000 text messages.

It would be nice if the citizens of Detroit, the one's really being screwed here, would finally rise up and demand that that guy be removed from office and jailed!

It is so pitiful to see so many people still backing this guy, "cause he's cool and f**king the babes!" on their tax dollars.
 

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The best part of the whole release is that now we see that the Law department of the city of Detroit is as guilty of perjury as the Mayor, and the city council was clueless of how the pimp mayor was playing them. I hope from now on they just don't trust the city officers. Also fire the whole staff of the law department.
 

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Ok, so he had an affair, so he lied about it under oath, so he tried to cover up the text messaages proving he lied with a 9 mil payoff to the two officers, so what. It's not like he really did anythig worng here :rolleyes:

I thought public officials, police, etc were supposed to be held to somewhat of a higher standard than the rest of us for the reason that they are public officials. When did it get reversed to let them get away with more because they are public officials? :cussing;
 

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See Chris, you are living in the past.
Being honorable and doing a good job for your consituents is so old school today.

The new thinking is the getting elected is like winning the lottery. You job is to steal as much as you can, blame it on someone else and then maybe, just maybe, have to pay back like 5% of it, go to your church, have it on tv and cry some and talk about your devoted wife and how important God has been in your life and its all good!

The moral is to make sure you steal so much, that you will not miss that 5% they are going to make you pay back when you get caught.

Now, we just need to get that written up as a campaign slogan/T-shirt and we are golden!

Nothing is going to change in Detroit until the voters decide they have had enough.

Watching the news last night, they interviewed several people in Detroit and they all thought Detroit had more important things to do and that we should just get off the Mayor's back and let him do the job. This is the root problem for these voters, apathy and stupidity.

I would fire that entire legal department the City employes as they have proven that they are corrupt, inept and after 3 courts have told them "NO", they still do not understand the problem, so they are also stupid.

Besides, they are supposed to be working for the good of the City and not to keep the Mayor out of jail.
 

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See Chris, you are living in the past.
Being honorable and doing a good job for your consituents is so old school today.

The new thinking is the getting elected is like winning the lottery. You job is to steal as much as you can, blame it on someone else and then maybe, just maybe, have to pay back like 5% of it, go to your church, have it on tv and cry some and talk about your devoted wife and how important God has been in your life and its all good!

The moral is to make sure you steal so much, that you will not miss that 5% they are going to make you pay back when you get caught.

Now, we just need to get that written up as a campaign slogan/T-shirt and we are golden!

Nothing is going to change in Detroit until the voters decide they have had enough.

Watching the news last night, they interviewed several people in Detroit and they all thought Detroit had more important things to do and that we should just get off the Mayor's back and let him do the job. This is the root problem for these voters, apathy and stupidity.

I would fire that entire legal department the City employes as they have proven that they are corrupt, inept and after 3 courts have told them "NO", they still do not understand the problem, so they are also stupid.

Besides, they are supposed to be working for the good of the City and not to keep the Mayor out of jail.


I agree on all points.
Just saw his attorney on hte news last nite....They should throw his BS ass in jail too.
 

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This was an editorial I found on the Freep...

http://freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080229/OPINION02/802290327

The Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission has ample reason to investigate all of those who had a hand in the text-message scandal involving Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, himself an attorney, and initiate action over violations of ethical standards and rules of professional conduct.

The commission, an arm of the state court system, takes cases before the Attorney Discipline Board, which can mete out penalties ranging from reprimand to suspension to loss of law license.

If any scandal ever cried out for the commission's attention, it's this one. Lying. Conspiracy. Dirty dealing. We've seen it all come to light in the last few weeks. And it all potentially violates the oath lawyers take when they're sworn into the state bar.

Start with Kilpatrick, who swore to tell the truth in court during the police whistle-blower case, then flat-out lied about the affair he was having with his chief of staff, Christine Beatty, and their plans to fire a police investigator who was getting too close to it. Those lies are not only the basis for potential perjury charges; they're a flagrant violation of his responsibilities as an attorney.

When evidence of his lies surfaced in the form of text messages between him and Beatty, other lawyers added their own missteps to Kilpatrick's.

City corporation counsel John Johnson Jr., Sam McCargo, the mayor's personal lawyer, and city attorney Valerie Colbert-Osamuede all conspired with Kilpatrick through a confidentiality agreement to hide the text messages, which were evidence of a potential crime.

The police officers' lawyer, Mike Stefani, should also be investigated for his role in that conspiracy. Why did he cooperate to help the mayor conceal the text messages? Didn't he also have a duty to report that he had obtained potential evidence of a crime?

In addition, Colbert-Osamuede lied to Judge Richard Colombo, in the Free Press' suit to uncover the settlement documents, when she told the judge point-blank she had never seen any evidence of a secret agreement to bury the text messages. Johnson has also lied several times in public statements denying knowledge of the agreement.

For the enforcement arms of the Michigan court system to do nothing about these lawyers would send an awful message about the state of the legal profession here: that the truth means nothing, that the obligations of serving with honor and honesty in the state bar are fleeting, and fungible.

No matter what comes of the criminal investigation of Kilpatrick in this scandal, the misconduct of the lawyers involved cannot be ignored.
 
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