Kwame unchained: Kilpatrick begs to go home

Kwame Kilpatrick and his wife, Carlita, share a laugh before the former Detroit mayor's sentencing hearing begins on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008. Kilpatrick was sentenced to serve the full 120 days in jail as stipulated by his plea agreement by Wayne County Circuit Judge David Groner in the basement courtroom at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit.

Kwame Kilpatrick and his wife, Carlita, share a laugh before the former Detroit mayor’s sentencing hearing begins on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008. Kilpatrick was sentenced to serve the full 120 days in jail as stipulated by his plea agreement by Wayne County Circuit Judge David Groner in the basement courtroom at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit.

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is complaining about wearing an ankle tether and living under house arrest and has repeatedly begged to fly to Texas to visit his wife and children, The Detroit News has learned.

The complaints started almost immediately after Kilpatrick was charged with 14 counts of violating parole last month, charges that were filed while he stood trial in the City Hall corruption case.

He violated parole by failing to disclose cash gifts that could have been used toward the $854,063 restitution he owes the city from the text-message scandal.

Kilpatrick was placed under house arrest, ordered to spend a weekend in jail and wear the tether amid a continuing investigation into the ex-Detroit mayor’s finances.

“PLEASE UNCHAIN ME,” Kilpatrick wrote to his parole agent Charles Wright on Feb. 19, according to emails obtained by The News through the Freedom of Information Act.

Wright said no.

Kilpatrick has asked to fly home again this weekend and a decision could come as early as today.

It is the latest plea from Kilpatrick, who is awaiting a verdict from jurors in the City Hall corruption trial. Kilpatrick, his father Bernard and contractor Bobby Ferguson face up to 20 years in federal prison, if convicted.

Kilpatrick and his family are renting this 5,000-square-foot home in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Kilpatrick and his family are renting this 5,000-square-foot home in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Kilpatrick, 42, was charged with violating parole Jan. 25.

Almost immediately, he started complaining about the ankle tether and having to live, essentially under house arrest, at his mother’s home in Detroit.

Kilpatrick has asked repeatedly since Feb. 2 — a week after he was charged with parole violations — to have the restrictions relaxed so he could fly to his family’s 5,000-square-foot rental home in Grand Prairie, Texas.

let me go home

Kwame Kilpatrick's father Bernard is flanked by his grandsons Jelani, left, and Jalil.

Kwame Kilpatrick’s father Bernard is flanked by his grandsons Jelani, left, and Jalil.

The parole agent refused to let Kilpatrick fly home.

Kilpatrick tried again days later.

“My sons are playing one of their remaining 2 varsity basketball games on Friday,” Kilpatrick wrote on Feb. 6. “I have only seen them play in one game this season. It would be amazing for them, as well as me, if I’m allowed to attend this activity. I humbly request to travel to my home. would return on Sunday evening…”

Kilpatrick also griped about being separated from his family and referenced the corruption trial.

“This is the last weekend before closing arguments in the biggest political trial in the history of Detroit,” Kilpatrick wrote to his parole agent. “I am going to be prevented from seeing my family, yet again, for the duration of jury deliberation.”

Kilpatrick tried again on Feb. 7, telling his parole agent he had booked a flight that night.

god fly

Kilpatrick waited for an answer as the 7:46 p.m. flight departure came and went.

At 9:08 p.m., Kilpatrick sent his parole agent another email.

Kilpatrick wore an ankle tether to a preliminary examination on assault charges in August 15, 2008, amid the text-message scandal.

Kilpatrick wore an ankle tether to a preliminary examination on assault charges in August 15, 2008, amid the text-message scandal.

“Of course there is no way for me to go home tonight,” Kilpatrick wrote. “I want to humbly request to be allowed to travel tomorrow. I am a husband and father that is desperately trying to spend some time with my wife and children before jury deliberations begin.

“I have not been able to see them for more than a month. I have worn a GPS device for nearly a month, been on house arrest, spent the weekend in prison, and been denied to go to my own home.

“I have completely cooperated with your investigation,” he continued. “I am humbly requesting that, even during this very narrowly focused part of your investigation, that I be allowed to travel to my home tomorrow…”

The agent said no, triggering a bitter response from Kilpatrick.

Kwame Kilpatrick's family as they leave US District Court in downtown Detroit on Feb. 12. In the foreground is his mother Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick and his three sons. (Clarence Tabb, Jr./The Detroit News)

Kwame Kilpatrick’s family as they leave US District Court in downtown Detroit on Feb. 12. In the foreground is his mother Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick and his three sons. (Clarence Tabb, Jr./The Detroit News)

“Parole issues have already negatively affected my preparation for the case and has significantly hindered my ability to properly defend myself,” wrote Kilpatrick, who did not testify during the corruption trial and only a handful of defense witnesses were called.

Kilpatrick asked for another favor Feb. 16 after his wife, Carlita, and their three children flew into Detroit to attend closing arguments in the corruption trial.

Since Kilpatrick was under house arrest, he was unable to leave his mother’s home.

“I HATE asking this question,” Kilpatrick wrote. “It is absolutely against any notion of humanity and freedom that I have left within me, but I have been requested to ask you for this by my family. Again, I HATE it. I am requesting to take my family to the airport in the morning…”

No dice, his parole agent said.

Two days later, Kilpatrick asked for permission to fly to Texas, arguing that he is not a flight risk or accused of violent crimes, drugs or “sexual deviance.”

kwame long email

Again, the agent refused.

The next day, Feb. 19, Kilpatrick complained again about the ankle tether malfunctioning.

“Please take this thing off!” he wrote.

Marlan, the state prisons spokesman, justified why Kilpatrick’s agent has refused to approve travel requests.

“(Kilpatrick) is charged with a number of parole violations for failing to disclose income, so letting him fly all the way across the country to Texas is something his parole agent was not ready to do,” Marlan said. “He’s asking to go home again this weekend, but his parole agent has not made a decision yet.”

Robert Snell

Robert Snell is the Detroit News federal courts reporter. He can be reached at rsnell@detnews.com or (313) 222-2028.