State - Detroit Kilpatrick ordered to return to court on Friday Ex-mayor could wind up back in jail for violating his probation

By Corey Williams

Associated Press Writer

DETROIT (AP) -- The freedom of former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick could be decided -- again -- in a Detroit courtroom as he faces an arraignment on claims that he violated probation by failing to make a $79,011 restitution payment on time.

Judge David Groner ordered Kilpatrick to return to Wayne County Circuit Court on Friday.

"There's going to be a warrant, and it's going to be pretty soon," Groner told defense attorneys and prosecutors during a brief hearing Tuesday.

A draft report was presented to Groner by Beverly Smith, an area manager for the state Corrections Department. It recommended a warrant be issued because Kilpatrick did not meet Groner's Feb. 19 deadline for the payment.

Kilpatrick could land back in jail for violating terms of his probation from a 2008 criminal case that also forced him from office. He spent 99 days in jail as part of a guilty plea to obstruction of justice and a no contest plea to assault.

He also was ordered to pay $1 million to the city in restitution.

Kilpatrick, who now lives in the Dallas area and works as a salesman for information-technology company Covisint, has made monthly restitution payments. But last month, he was ordered to pay the $79,011 along with a $240,000 payment in April after Groner said the ex-mayor was dishonest about his finances.

Things got testy Tuesday when Groner asked defense attorney Michael Alan Schwartz if Kilpatrick could be in court for arraignment Wednesday morning. When Schwartz said he was wasn't sure and would have to call Kilpatrick, Groner appeared to lose patience.

"He's a defendant in a criminal case, so he doesn't get to tell me when he's going to be here," said Groner, who took a six-minute recess to allow Schwartz to make the call.

Outside the courtroom between a narrow window and stairway door, Schwartz reached Kilpatrick in Texas, but he said the reception was poor and that his client would call right back.

Schwartz waited. Groner didn't.

"Your client will be here at 9 a.m. Friday," the judge told Daniel Hajji, another Kilpatrick attorney inside the courtroom.

Later Tuesday, Hajji filed new documents asking the Michigan Court of Appeals to reconsider a ruling from last week and intervene. In a 2-1 decision, the court had refused to step in and stop the proceedings.

The Wayne County prosecutor's office said it planned to file a response to Hajji's motion with the appeals court Wednesday.

Kilpatrick has said through his attorneys that he didn't have the money for the payment due Feb. 19. To prove he violated probation, prosecutors must show that Kilpatrick could have paid the $79,011, Schwartz told reporters.

"The amount of money that he was supposed to pay was large," he said. "The amount of time within which he was supposed to pay was 30 days. I don't know how many people can raise that kind of money in that short period of time."

But nearly $41,000 in money orders had been dropped off to the court's bond office by Monday.

"Mr. Kilpatrick did not pay the money, did not seek to have other people pay it for him," Schwartz said. "To the best of my knowledge it comes from citizens here in Detroit who are warmhearted people who see that there is somebody whose in trouble and are trying to help him out."

Published: Thu, Feb 25, 2010

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