(WXYZ) — Bobby Ferguson is out of prison and back home with his family after his sentence was suddenly cut short on Thursday. Ferguson was convicted of bribery and extortion along with his friend, former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, in the city hall corruption probe.
After serving just 8 years of his 21-year sentence, Ferguson got out of prison early just like his friend, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
“Obviously he’s in good spirits and very happy to be around his wife and his children,” said attorney Michael Rataj.
While in prison, Ferguson’s former wife divorced him. The 52-year-old has since married LaCresha Ware, who used to work for Ferguson.
Rataj was one of 3 lawyers who defended Ferguson during the six-month corruption trial in 2013 that landed the former city contractor behind bars.
“He’s had 5 grandchildren that have been born since he’s been incarcerated. So he’s going to take the next couple of weeks and decompress,” said Rataj.
Ferguson’s legal team argued that after President Trump commuted Kilpatrick’s 28-year prison term, that created a sentencing disparity because Ferguson was never supposed to serve as many years as the convicted ring-leader of the vast city hall corruption case.”
“Ferguson’s sentence was extraordinarily long for the crimes that were committed in terms of the average sentence for those crimes,” said Rataj.
Federal prosecutors had argued that both Kilpatrick and Ferguson should remain locked up for stealing from the taxpayers. But Judge Nancy Edmonds agreed to grant Ferguson compassionate release based on his health problems and Kilpatrick’s commutation.
“She understood our arguments and she ignored the venomous and vitriolic arguments that were advanced by the government and ignored them. So we were grateful to her for that as well,” said Rataj.
Even though the 52-year-old is a free man now, he’s still on the hook for $6.2 million in restitution to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. R
ataj says the feds seized all of the equipment from Ferguson’s former business so it’s not clear yet what he’ll do to earn money, and he did not have a timeframe for how long it will take Ferguson to pay the restitution.
“He lost his livelihood, he lost everything. I mean you go to prison you lose everything. You got to start from scratch. And that’s not something you just figure out within the first 24 hours of being released,” said Rataj.
The 7 Investigators did reach out to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. They’re not making any statements on the release of Bobby Ferguson.
But former U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider had plenty to say about Ferguson’s release from prison:
President Trump’s unjustified commutation of Kilpatrick’s sentence set the ball in motion for this premature release. Just like Kwame Kilpatrick, Ferguson is an unapologetic criminal, and he should stay in prison for his appalling crimes against the people of Detroit.