Grand Jury Wants Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick

Gautham Nagesh Contributor
Font Size:

A little late on this, but Detroit Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick and her office manager have been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in Detroit:

The topic of the subpoenas is not known. Kwame Kilpatrick has been fighting in state court over restitution to be paid on a perjury plea. The Free Press also has reported that a contractor who pleaded guilty in a federal corruption probe has told investigators he handed over bribes to the former mayor in 2002.

Cheeks Kilpatrick – Michigan’s only member of the powerful Appropriations Committee – has not been publicly implicated in any of those probes but has been a loyal defender of her son.

It’s worth noting that the Congresswoman’s ex-husband Bernie, the father of her son Kwame, is also facing charges in connection with the city bribery ring. When reached for comment, Kilpatrick’s spokesperson sent the following:

“Congresswoman Kilpatrick has been issued a subpoena to testify before the grand jury in the Eastern District of Michigan. Through her counsel, the Congresswoman has been assured by the Department of Justice that neither she nor Andrea Bragg is a target of the grand jury. Congresswoman Kilpatrick and Ms. Bragg intend to cooperate fully and answer truthfully all appropriate questions. Beyond that, as this is a grand jury matter, this office will have no further comment.”

Rep. Kilpatrick has steadfastly refused to answer questions regarding her son’s legal problems since they first emerged two years ago – having chased her through the Rayburn House Office Building, I speak from personal experience. But she’s hardly removed from the situation and was recently spotted helping her son raise cash for his restitution payments to avoid jail time:

Family members — including Kilpatrick’s mother, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, a Detroit Democrat — were gathered at Butcher’s Inn Tequila and Margarita Bar on Friday. They told some close friends they would be collecting cash to help the former mayor with mounting legal bills and a looming restitution deadline.

Cheeks Kilpatrick was herself recently exonerated in connection with the same House Ethics probe that prompted Charlie Rangel to lose his chairmanship of Ways and Means.

After facing a tougher-than-expected 2008 primary, Cheeks Kilpatrick was ultimately saved by having two challengers as well as a late endorsement from Nancy Pelosi. This time around she’s facing a much tougher challenge from State Senator Hansen Clarke. Having her name come up in yet another federal investigation probably won’t help much on that front.