This week, the long sorry tale of Kwame Kilpatrick should finally have an ending; and it will be anything but storybook for the disgraced former mayor. Too easy to take potshots? Everything already been written and said? As an adversity management case study, it is certainly worth another look.
It is almost hard to believe it has been nearly 6 years since Kilpatrick and his wife Carlita took to the airwaves for a televised message of supposed contrition for the texting and perjury scandal. Of course, this was long before Kilpatrick would stand once again before the court for serious federal charges of corruption that could see him behind bars for the next quarter century – or more. Back then, he largely blamed the media for his woes.
Since that time and through it all, Kilpatrick has remained defiant; doing absolutely nothing to help himself either in the court of public opinion or, more importantly for him, in a court of law. Acting only in a manner consistent with his years in office, his failure to pay restitution coupled with his attempt at hiding a monetary gift served only to extend his time in an orange jump suit. Legal mis-maneuvering , further, including an attempt to secure time off for a knee injury, have only served to cement his pathetic position in the pantheon of political pariahs.
Early in the federal trial process, Kilpatrick was offered a 15-year plea deal for an admission of guilt. Since found guilty after refusing that deal, and facing twice that time when he is sentenced on Tuesday, Kilpatrick is now, ironically, asking the court for that same 15-year term. He doesn’t stand a chance. There’s no longer anyone to wheel and deal with. When one so egregiously takes advantage of the public trust, thumbs a nose at the legal system and selfishly refuses to take responsibility for one’s actions, you soon find you are alone and doomed. The past 6 years have taught Kwame Kilpatrick nothing. Hard time may be just what he needs to truly reflect and, perhaps someday, repent.