Though ex-Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been sentenced to 20 years in the slammer for extortion, bribery, conspiracy and other crimes during his years in office, he still has an active group of supporters who feel he has been railroaded by the system.
In an effort to help the former superstar politico fight his federal conviction, a trust has been set up to finance his legal defense efforts, Fox 2 News Detroit reports. The “Freedom and Justice Trust” at www.freedomjusticetrust.com, chaired by his mother, former U.S. congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, aims to “raise money to free Kwame Kilpatrick from prison, and support efforts to realize justice in his legal fight.”
Many believe that Cheeks Kilpatrick lost her congressional seat, in part, because of her support of her son. This video below sealed the deal for many voters in her district:
Kilpatrick, who was ordered to pay $4.6 million for a series of crooked deals he allegedly pushed through while he was mayor, has always denied wrongdoing for the dozens of crimes of which he has been accused and convicted.
From Fox 2 News:
“The 28-year prison sentence is a culmination of a meticulously-crafted series of events to erase Kilpatrick’s accomplishments from the history books, lay blame on Kilpatrick for every shortcoming the city has faced over the past 50 years and, ultimately, to take Detroit.”
Despite a 6-month trial and a unanimous jury verdict, the trust insists that Kilpatrick is still not guilty.
Kilpatrick is also not going quietly. Since landing in federal prison last year, he has been posting to Facebook about his experiences on the inside. On December 17th, he wrote
” … in spending time here, I have the unique opportunity to accomplish the greatest thing that any man can. The opportunity to learn myself.”
Most of the visitors to Kilpatrick’s Facebook page express support.
One fan wrote, “This is an injustice. He does not deserve to be behind bars.”
Another said: “28 years. What a travesty of justice.”
But at least one critic weighs in, too: “Brotha admit your mistakes. Repay what you owe and make things right for your children. Show they can be proud of their father.”
As for the rules on how one can donate to the trust, the site states that any moneys given to the former mayor are “gifts” and “not tax-deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.” But the site states that, as long as you give less than $14,000, you won’t be subject to a gift tax.