DETROIT (AP) – Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick reemerged from a weeklong, self-imposed exile last night, using the shadow of a church pulpit to express contrition for “the embarrassment and disappointment” recent events have caused Detroit residents, alluding to a text messaging scandal that came to light a week ago and has engrossed the city.
During the made-for-television event, Kilpatrick was careful not to get into specifics, knowing a perjury investigation hangs over his head – one that could land him in prison for up to 15 years if he’s convicted of lying under oath.
A prosecutor is investigating whether the mayor and chief of staff Christine Beatty lied on the stand during a whistle-blower’s lawsuit last summer in which both denied having a physical relationship.
Kilpatrick vowed to remain mayor in the speech that aired live in prime time on Detroit television and radio stations.
“Make no mistake about it, since 2002, I have been in charge of the city. There have been ups and downs. There have been hills and mountains and valleys. But through it all, I remain in charge of the city,” he said.
There was no audience and no reporters or photographers, save for the operator of the sole video camera used.
Carlita Kilpatrick, who initially wasn’t expected to be there, also spoke, describing the pain her husband had caused, but urging the city to remain committed to him.
“I am angry, I am hurt and I am disappointed,” she said, holding his hand. “But there is no question I love my husband.”
Kilpatrick, 37, is in his second term and could run again next year. He had been in seclusion since a Detroit Free Press report last week of sexually explicit text messages from 2002 and 2003 found on Beatty’s city-issued pager.