Emma Bell, a longtime fundraiser for former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, pleaded guilty today to income tax evasion. Bell had received over $500,000 in kickbacks from Kilpatrick for various fundraisers, but didn’t report the income. She also agreed to cooperate with authorities in the pending federal corruption case being built against Kilpatrick. Bell faces up to 18 months in prison.
Kilpatrick has already served time for other crimes he committed during his mayoral tenure. On September 4, 2008, Kwame Kilpatrick announced his resignation as mayor of Detroit, after pleading guilty to two felony counts of obstructing justice by committing perjury. Kilpatrick had lied under oath about, among other things, his intimate relationship with his former chief of staff, Christine Beatty, during a police whistleblower trial. Kilpatrick served 99 days in jail for the counts.
Kilpatrick may find himself behind bars again. This time, the stay won’t be so short. In December 2010, a federal grand jury indicted Kilpatrick and four of his associates with various charges involving extortion, fraud, and tax evasion. The 38-charge indictment alleges that Kilpatrick and his syndicate fraudulently awarded contracts in connection with Detroit’s Department of Water and Sewerage, and pocketed kickbacks of nearly $1 million.
At Kilpatrick’s arraignment on January 10, 2011, federal prosecutors proposed for the trial to start sometime during January 2012. Defense attorneys requested sometime in the summer of 2012. The judge complied with the defense’s request, as the trial is scheduled to begin on September 6, 2012.
Unfortunately for Kilpatrick, the later trial start date gives prosecutors more time to round up several folks like Emma Bell to testify against him. With Kilpatrick now facing up to 30 years in prison for the charges, he probably won’t be smirking in court this time around.