'I was mad at myself.' Kwame Kilpatrick opens up about prison, future in recent speech

Posted at 1:14 PM, Oct 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-08 18:26:36-04

(WXYZ) — The life of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is in the third act. He was elected starting at the young age of only 31. Eleven years later, he would be convicted of running a criminal enterprise and sentenced to 28 years in prison.


In January, President Donald Trump commuted his sentence after serving 8 years.
And now, the former mayor continues to speak out on his road to recovery and redemption.

Kwame Kilpatrick knew he was being taped for television for a program that aired Sunday on TV20 during Ask the Messengers. He approved it in advance.

"We all have sin. I know y'all saw mine in the paper, but I know you did it too," Kilpatrick said during his speech. "I read the Bible, I read the whole thing, and it says y'all sinners too ... ya'll looking at me, I'm looking at you."

The speech was recorded last month.

"God must have touched him. He doesn’t sound like the arrogant guy that he was before," said George Page, executive producer of Ask the Messengers.

When Kilpatrick was elected Detroit's mayor at age 31, he immediately said he was the ultimate family man.

"There’s no way I can be a true leader of the City of Detroit if I don’t lead in my own house," he said in 2002.

That would be his first undoing. Text messages showed he was having an affair with his chief of staff and lied about it in a civil trial. He was charged, resigned and cut a plea deal.

Now he's out of prison, and openly discussing it.

"Let me speak from experience. You don't stop cheating just because you not cheating right now.

I was in prison, I could walk around and say I'm not an adulterer.

I'm not gay. I'm not gay. And there were no women there, there was no opportunity to cheat," he said in the speech.

Kilpatrick remarried this summer. And his new wife was with him. He talked about getting to know each other while in prison.

"I was not a good catch. Yeah, I had on prison clothes with a 28 year sentence so I didn't have nothing to lose," he said in the speech.

Kilpatrick was convicted in federal court for running a city hall criminal enterprise racketeering, extortion, fraud with three co-conspirators.

"I was mad at myself. I was mad at all y'all.

I didn’t like none of y’all. The people I just praised I didn't like none of y'all either," he said.

"When you’re real depressed. When you feel in the dark and ostracized by everybody. When you in a suicidal mindset, you don’t like nobody."

"Never a Messenger on our show with the magnitude that he has," said Page. "All kinds of reaction. We got good and we got bad. Some people say, 'why.'"

Tina Nelson, host of Ask the Messengers, said, "Who else in your family hasn’t disappointed you, but you still love them just the same. Kwame is Detroit. Period."

Kilpatrick didn’t take questions from the small group of invited guests. It’s not clear if he’s living here or out of state. It’s not clear if he’s becoming a minister as his new career.

"I can't be a good preacher and a good cusser.

I can't cuss all the time and preach all the time, I got to choose," he said.

"In time ... people will be able to look at your conduct, your integrity, see where you're going with it and over time, you know, trust can be regained," said Derrick Hill, Ask the Messengers marketing.

Kilpatrick still owes 1.7 million dollars in restitution in the federal case to the city and to the IRS. He’s on a payment plan. If that’s violated, he can be brought back in front of a judge.