Video: Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Says He Prayed in Prison for The Judge Who Gave Him 28 Years

March 24, 2023, 10:41 AM by  Allan Lengel

Kwame Kilpatrick (Screenshot from Anton Daniels show)

In 2016, at a federal prison in El Reno, Ok., ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was in bible class when a man leading the study pointedly asked:   

"'Big guy, have you forgiven your judge?' And I said, 'oh man...I said, 'yeah I forgive her.' He said, 'let's pray for her.'" The federal judge in question, Nancy G. Edmunds, gave Kilpatrick a harsh prison sentence of 28 years after a jury convicted him of public corruption and tax charges.

"I said, 'well you know I just heard that she had Parkinson's disease,'" Kilpatrick, 52, recounted in an interview in Detroit on the Anton Daniels show posted several days ago on YouTube. "And this is in 2016, and he said 'we gonna pray for her'...And I said 'OK' and I led the prayer and prayed for the judge that she would be healed and delivered from Parkinson's disease."

"In that sanctuary, we were in that church, and I know five guys dressed in khaki uniforms and a federal correctional institution, we moved the throne of heaven on her behalf because she was very ill then and she's still around in 2023."

Kilpatrick, who, along with his wife, whom he married after prison, operates a virtual ministry, Movemental Ministries, based in Georgia. He was released from prison in January 2021 through a commutation from  President Donald Trump, who hours later turned the White House over to Joe Biden.

Interestingly, Kilpatrick, who served as the city's 72nd mayor from 2002 to 2008, isn't done dealing with Edmunds. And from the vantage point of her written rulings and her harsh sentence, it appears she has no great love for him. 

Last month, Edmunds rejected Kilpatrick's bid to end his supervised release early so he could travel more freely for his job as pastor. A critical Edmunds wrote that Kilpatrick hadn't proved he was a changed man, and t he has ignored his debts.

"(Kilpatrick) asserts that early termination of his supervised release is warranted because he has matured and learned from his mistakes; has worked hard to become a responsible, law-abiding, and productive citizen; and accepts responsibility for his criminal conduct," Edmunds wrote in her five-page opinion, according to a report in the Detroit Free Press by Tresa Baldas. 

"(Kilpatrick) committed very serious crimes, and he still owes a significant amount of restitution," Edmunds wrote, noting Kilpatrick owes more than $192,000 to the IRS. "And (Kilpatrick) has a history of spending his money on a lavish lifestyle rather than paying off his obligations. (He) has only made a little over $5,000 in payments towards his restitution obligation in this case."

In the YouTube interview posted several days ago, Kilpatrick says of Edmunds:

"I hope that what's happening is her judicious mind weighing in on Kwame Kilpatrick because of the merits of the things and the cases that (are) in front of her, and not because of personality and her trying to do something that benefits her to the media or in the public eye, the people that hate Kwame Kilpatrick."

Some people in Detroit say Kilpatrick still owes residents an outright apology. 

Last April on NBC's "Today" show, he told Craig Melvin:  

"I did the perjury. But all of this mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy, absolutely not." A federal jury disagreed, convicting him of 24 felony counts.

That being said, he comments in his recent interview about redemption and admitting responsiblity.

"Some of us men and now women that have to come to the end of themselves to be able to even hear a message of redemption, a message of -- that you need to apologize. Some of us are so proud and...we got to let it go. And lastly, I know in this city, that's a big thing, too. Everything is somebody else's fault.

"In this town. 'It's white people, it's the people downtown.' Come on now. Some things that happen in your city, in any city, in your household and your community and your family, that's your fault. It was you... We got to learn how to look in the mirror and say, 'that was me.'"

Editor's Note: We are working on preserving our stories at the University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library. In the meantime, we are occasionally posting new stories.

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