e-mail me at billdeg@umich.edu


lies lies lies

The Kwame Kilpatrick scandal continues to dominate conversations in Detroit. Yesterday the mayor's attorney Sharon McPhail read a statement--full text available here--that argued the media ("they own the printing presses," she said scornfully) has told only one side of the story and that "the city" does not have an opportunity to be heard. McPhail said these words in a statement that was carried live on most local television and news radio stations (I listened on my way home from work). When Kwame Kilpatrick wanted to make a statement of his own, local tv stations all carried it, allowing the mayor to dictate the rules: I'll talk in my church, side by side with my wife, etc.

Referring to the sealed court records that local media brought a lawsuit in order to access, McPhail said: "It is important to note that none of the documents involved the so-called text messages that have been the subject of such fevered media coverage in recent days." She also said: "In fact, no secret deals exist or have ever existed."

Local media won that lawsuit despite the city's vigorous appeals (story here). According to the Free Press,
The most important document is a nine-page confidential agreement that the mayor and city lawyers had tried for months to keep secret. The document, signed by Kilpatrick, his then-chief of staff Christine Beatty and lawyer Mike Stefani, who represented three police officers in a whistle-blower lawsuit against the city, pledged to keep text messages between Kilpatrick and Beatty secret.
How can McPhail's statement be understood as anything but a series of lies? Will she be held accountable? Probably not. Unlike the mayor, at least she wasn't under oath while lying. Will *he* be held accountable? It's starting to look like he might. The city's strategy now seems to be to drag things out in the hopes that public outrage will diminish. I hope it does not.

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