Woman at Center of Detroit Sex Scandal Gets Jail Time
January 6, 2009 - 1:19 PMNearly a year after headlines revealed a City Hall sex scandal, the former top aide to ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sent to jail Tuesday to serve the same punishment as her boss: 120 days with time shaved for good behavior.
Christine Beatty agreed to the sentence when she pleaded guilty in December to obstruction of justice. Wayne County Circuit Judge Timothy Kenny made it official during a morning court hearing.
Beatty also must pay $100,000 to the city and cannot attend law school while on probation for five years.
Beatty declined an opportunity to speak in court.
Kenny praised Beatty for her "dignified" conduct in court appearances but he also criticized her and her former boss.
"I do think that this case does represent the triumph of truth over political power and might and it also indicates, I think, that lying under oath in court has a price tag, even for those who are the politically elite within the community," the judge said.
Beatty's attorney, Mayer Morganroth, said she could be out of jail in around 70 days if she gets credit for good behavior and participates in certain jail programs. As for the restitution, Morganroth said Beatty had "$6 and some change" in a bank account.
Beatty and Kilpatrick, both 38, were charged with lying about their affair during a 2007 civil trial that centered on allegations of retaliation against high-ranking police officers who suspected wrongdoing in the mayor's inner circle.
The officers won their case. City Council approved payment of a multimillion-dollar settlement with the officers, not knowing the deal carried secret provisions to forever keep a lid on sexually explicit text messages between Kilpatrick and Beatty.
The scandal broke in January 2008 when the Detroit Free Press published some of the messages, exposing courtroom lies and red-hot trysts by the former high school classmates, both married at the time of the affair.
Beatty quit City Hall after the newspaper story, and they were charged in March. Kilpatrick held onto his job until he made a deal with prosecutors and left office in September. He began his jail term on Oct. 28.
On Feb. 24, the city will hold a primary election, the first step toward choosing someone to serve as mayor through 2009. The two top finishers will advance to a special election in May. Candidates include the current mayor, Ken Cockrel Jr., who was automatically promoted from City Council president when Kilpatrick resigned.
Beatty, a divorced mother of two young daughters, was charged with perjury, misconduct and obstruction of justice for her testimony before and during the 2007 civil trial. Under state sentencing guidelines, she likely faced 19 months or more in prison if she had been convicted of all seven counts.
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