Is Kwame Kilpatrick getting released from prison? Here's what we know

Posted at 1:17 PM, May 22, 2020

Despite claims of an early prison release for disgraced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, official sources have not confirmed that any such release is imminent.

In a press statement widely circulated Friday morning, the Ebony Foundation claimed that Kilpatrick "has been granted early release after spending 7 years of a 28-year sentence."

The foundation, along with Kilpatrick friends and family members, has been working to secure his release from prison for years. Since his conviction, Kilpatrick himself has filed a number of unsuccessful appeals.

"...we were able to confirm that Mr. Kilpatrick is going to be released on compassionate release, with respect to the COVID-19 crisis," said Rev. Keyon Payton, the National Director for Community Outreach and Engagement for the Ebony Foundation.

Sandra Neylane, a spokeswoman for the Ebony Foundation, said that the organization received a phone call from Kilpatrick Friday claiming he was going to be released from prison in Louisiana following a 14-day quarantine.

But, when reached Friday morning, Kilpatrick's attorney Harold Gurewitz said he'd heard nothing of the sort. Nor had John Shea, attorney for Bernard Kilpatrick, the ex-mayor's father, who was convicted of a tax crime and served 15 months in prison.

Still, those who've worked to secure Kilpatrick's release insisted Friday afternoon that the former mayor would be a free man, at least temporarily, soon.

"We’re just excited to be a part of knowing Mr. Kilpatrick is going to be somewhat released," said Pastor Payton, "and we’re hopeful that his clemency will be soon to come."

Officials with the Bureau of Prison have also not confirmed the reports, saying only that "Kwame Kilpatrick is presently located at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Oakdale."

The U.S. Attorneys Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, which prosecuted Kilpatrick, says they have not been told of any plans to release Kilpatrick.