Ex-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick will face dozens of reporters in a no-holds-barred conversation tonight

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is not saying much to reporters these days as he prepares to go to trial next month. But that's about to change tonight at the St. Regis Hotel in downtown Detroit where Kilpatrick will answer dozens of questions from reporters.

Kwame Kilpatrick is about to break his silence.  Tonight he's likely to face questions from everything ranging from the federal trial that's about to start.. to the text message scandal that ended his political career.


When Kwame Kilpatrick leaves federal court these days – he only talks to the well-wishers who shout at him from the sidewalks of downtown Detroit.  He doesn't answer questions from the reporters following his every move.

Tonight that's going to change.  The former mayor is about to face hours of questions from reporters at a special event hosted by the Detroit Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.

"Basically he said, it's time to have conversation because he has not spoken to a group of journalists.  He has never done anything like this since he left office 4 years ago," said WWJ Radio Reporter Vickie Thomas.  Thomas is the president of the Detroit NABJ Chapter, which is organizing the event.

"I'm amazed he agreed to do it.  But to be honest, it was him who approached us… He said when are you guys going to let me speak, I think it would be great," said Thomas.

Thomas says the conversation should be very enlightening – especially since Kilpatrick is just weeks away from defending himself against federal corruption charges.

"There are so many people who love him still, so many people who hate him, and you know, I think it's an opportunity for journalists to hear from Kwame Kilpatrick himself, not through anyone else, or through court papers, or the prosecutor's office.  But from Kwame Kilpatrick," said Thomas.

During recent court hearings, Kilpatrick clearly seemed like he wanted to answer our questions at times – but he would glance at his lawyers, sigh in frustration, and keep his mouth shut.  For tonight's question and answer session – everything is supposed to be fair game.

"Just to see the sheer reaction of him seeing some of the folks for the time, you know taking a question from them, you know people like Jim Schaefer who helped bring him down… So it's going to be quite interesting," said Thomas.

Tonight's event is only for NABJ members --- it is not open to the general public. Thomas says she expects more than 70 reporters to be there.

That includes the 7 Action News Investigators, who will bring you complete coverage live on Channel 7 from downtown and right here on WXYZ.com.

If you could ask Kwame kilpatrick a question, what would it be? Go to our Facebook page and leave your comment. Go to http://www.facebook.com/wxyzdetroit

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