DETROIT — A former Detroit mayor said he dropped to his knees in January when he learned that President Donald Trump was releasing him after he had served a portion of a 28-year prison sentence for corruption.
“I thanked God and I promised Him that I would stay faithful to Him,” Kwame Kilpatrick told Deadline Detroit, an online news site. “And I went to sleep.”
Kilpatrick, who lives in the Atlanta area, said he plans to study theology and is scheduled to preach this weekend at two Detroit churches; one appearance by recorded video. Historic Little Rock is one of two churches where he is expected to preach. Kilpatrick will preach during the 10 a.m. service Sunday.
He led Bible studies and worship services in prison.
“This is the first time that I’ve done anything public since getting out of prison,” Kilpatrick, 51, said. “It’s going to be my hometown debut.”
In 2013, he was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, fraud, extortion and tax crimes. The government called it the “Kilpatrick enterprise,” a scheme to shake down contractors and reward allies. He first was elected mayor in 2001 and resigned in 2008 following a text-messaging sex scandal.
Trump, in one of his last acts in office, reduced Kilpatrick’s prison sentence to time served, a decision that angered federal prosecutors in Detroit. Allies, however, said the 28-year term ordered by U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds was excessive.
Kilpatrick said he hopes people see the “fruit of my repentance” from “some terrible decisions” when he was mayor.
“I don’t want to be a part of any political discussion in Detroit because I’m not interested in being in the politics of Detroit,” Kilpatrick said.
He said he’s planning a second marriage and will stay in Atlanta “for a while.”
“I lost a lot of time with my family,” said Kilpatrick, who has three sons.