Fate of Detroit Mayor in Michigan Governor’s Hands
August 26, 2008 - 11:36 AMGov. Jennifer Granholm's office said Tuesday she will hold a historic hearing next week to decide whether Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick should be removed from office.
Granholm turned down a request by Kilpatrick's lawyers to stop the process, and her office posted an order confirming the Sept. 3 hearing.
The date had been proposed for weeks, but the Democratic governor still had the right to scratch it.
Kilpatrick, 38, once a rising star in the Democratic Party, is charged with 10 felonies in two criminal cases. But the most immediate threat to his political future is Granholm's constitutional authority to remove an elected official from office for misconduct.
Kilpatrick's attorney, Sharon McPhail, had asked Granholm to "decline to join the lynch mob." After the governor's decision was announced, she said she was "very disappointed" and vowed to present evidence "that proves the mayor did not misuse public funds for personal gain."
In its request for the hearing, the Detroit City Council accused the mayor of misleading it into approving an $8.4 million settlement with three fired police officers.
The council claims it was "hush money" to keep the lid on text messages that revealed a romantic relationship between the mayor and a top aide, Christine Beatty.
Attorneys for the council and the mayor can call witnesses at the hearing, which will be held in Detroit. Granholm will be assisted by Gregory Holiday, a state administrative law judge.
McPhail called the council's petition "factually inadequate and politically motivated." But the council's attorney, William Goodman, said failing to act now would condone corrupt behavior by public officials.
Sexually explicit text messages between Kilpatrick and Beatty, published by the Detroit Free Press in January, contradict their denial of an affair, a key point in the trial last year involving a former deputy police chief.
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