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Judge wont stop Detroit mayors removal hearing
Detroit Mayor MICO1 4822330
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's attorney, James Thomas, standing at left, addresses Wayne County Circuit Judge Robert Ziolkowski in Detroit, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2008. The judge refused to interfere with a hearing that could force Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick from office, a decision that puts Gov. Jennifer Granholm in control of his political fate and further pressures him to settle two criminal cases. The judge rejected arguments that Granholm is biased and that Michigan law is vague about the definition of misconduct. - photo by Associated Press
    DETROIT — A judge on Tuesday refused to block a hearing that could force Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick from office, putting the governor in control of the mayor’s political fate and adding pressure on him to settle two criminal cases.
    Wayne County Circuit Judge Robert Ziolkowski declined to interfere with a hearing set for Wednesday under Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s constitutional power to expel a public official for misconduct.
    The judge rejected arguments that Granholm is biased and that Michigan law is vague about the definition of misconduct.
    Ziolkowski also said the mayor’s right to ‘‘just and fair treatment’’ doesn’t apply. ‘‘Holding a public office is not a public right and not subject to due process rights,’’ he said.
    Kilpatrick’s attorney, James Thomas, promised an immediate appeal. ‘‘The way this is set up, the governor has free rein to be the judge, jury and executioner,’’ he said outside court.
    The Detroit City Council asked the governor to hold the hearing, arguing that Kilpatrick misled its members when he settled lawsuits with former police officers for $8.4 million.
    The council says it didn’t know the deal covered up sexually charged text messages between the mayor and his top aide, Christine Beatty.
    Those messages have led to charges of perjury, conspiracy, misconduct and obstruction of justice against Kilpatrick and Beatty. They are accused of lying during the 2007 whistle-blowers’ trial about having an extramarital affair and about their roles in the firing of a deputy police chief.
    The Detroit Free Press says the mayor’s legal team has proposed a deal in which Kilpatrick would resign and plead guilty to two felonies but avoid jail. The prosecutor’s office hasn’t accepted the offer.
    If Granholm evicts Kilpatrick from City Hall, the mayor would no longer be able to use his public office as a bargaining chip with prosecutors.
    In their attempt to stop Wednesday’s removal hearing, Kilpatrick’s lawyers accused Granholm of bias, and said she urged his resignation during a secret meeting held in May to try to settle the perjury case.
    The governor denies being biased.
    ‘‘I listed the positions of the parties on a blackboard and suggested a path that was a compromise,’’ Granholm said in an affidavit.
    Two other assault charges against the mayor stem from a confrontation in July. A sheriff’s detective says Kilpatrick shoved him into another investigator as the officers were attempting to serve a subpoena on a friend of the mayor in connection with the perjury case.
    Later Tuesday, a judge is scheduled to review bond conditions including travel restrictions and an electronic tether, the key conditions of Kilpatrick’s release in the assault case.

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