Former Kilpatrick friend Derrick Miller dodges prison, sentenced to 1 year in halfway house

DETROIT (WXYZ) - The last member of Kilpatrick Enterprise learned his fate Thursday in federal court. Even though the former mayor will be behind bars for decades, Derrick Miller won’t be spending any time in prison.

The judge sentenced Miller to 3 years of supervised release, with the first year spent in a halfway house. Judge Nancy Edmunds said Miller’s testimony helped the jury reach the guilty verdicts for the former mayor and his co-defendants in the historic Kilpatrick Corruption Trial.

Miller was the last of the five members of the “Kilpatrick Enterprise” to be sentenced in federal court.

“Would you like to apologize to the taxpayers,” 7 Action News Investigator Heather Catallo asked Miller on his way into court Thursday.  Miller refused to answer questions.

Miller and Kwame Kilpatrick had been best friends since meeting in 9th grade English class at Cass Technical High School.

Miller’s entire career was built around the Kilpatrick political empire, until the former mayor became his downfall.

Federal prosecutors originally charged Miller with racketeering, bribery and extortion, along with Kwame Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick, ex-city contractor Bobby Ferguson and former water department boss Victor Mercado.

But the 44-year-old cut a deal, providing the feds with extraordinary cooperation.  He pleaded guilty to corruption and tax charges, admitting that he took $115,000 in cash kickbacks that he split with Kilpatrick, and other bribes.
He was facing up to 10 years in prison, but federal prosecutors asked the judge for no more than 40 months.

In court Thursday, Judge Edmunds said it took tremendous courage for Miller to testify for 5 days against someone who was once a “lifelong friend.”  Edmunds said the citizens of Detroit have much to thank Miller for, but she added his behavior also gives the taxpayers “a lot to shake their heads at.”

Edmunds sentenced Miller to 3 years of supervised release, starting with 1 year in a halfway house.

“Mr. Miller was going to own up to his actions.  He was going to make amends for those actions, and he was going to accept whatever the court gave him.  We accept what the court gave us today graciously, he’s going to move on like a man with is life,” said his attorney Byron Pitts.

In court, Miller thanked Detroiters for their capacity to show love and forgiveness, but he never officially said he was sorry for being a part of the rampant corruption.

When asked about the lack of apology, Pitts said, “We’ve said all we had to say. Mr. Miller’s action speak louder than any kind of platitudes, or maybe empty promises.  This man came forward, unlike others, owned up to what he did, helped to rectify, heal the city and we stand by that.”

Kwame Kilpatrick is serving a 28 year sentence, Ferguson a 21 year sentence, and Bernard Kilpatrick was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for his sole conviction on a tax crime.