Michigan state House Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit) said she handed Trump a letter during the National African American History Month Celebration at the White House last February on the 27th, which she hopes will bolster Kilpatrick’s presidential pardon request.
“Based on his body language, I could tell that he was present, paying attention, receptive and somewhat reassuring,” Gay-Dagnogo said of her brief interaction with Trump, Deadline Detroit reports. “He seemed familiar with the request and I believe he said he’d look into it.”
Kilpatrick is currently serving 28 years in prison for multiple public corruption crimes. He has long argued that he was wrongfully convicted and has reportedly requested a pardon from Trump’s White House after losing all appeals, according to the Free Press.
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The letter, reportedly signed by several Detroit caucus members, elected officials and ecumenical leaders, says that though “Kilpatrick made great errors in judgment,” convictions of other public officials with “similar cases, sentenced around the same time, highlight stark contrast.”
Trump has granted clemency to 11 convicted criminals, including former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who went to prison after he tried to sell President Obama’s old Senate seat for financial profit.
Gay-Dagnogo says she’s optimistic Trump will release Kilpatrick.
“African-American community leaders and pastors are weighing in as well,” she said. “Perhaps he sees it as a political opportunity, or he sees what is fair. … [Given] the ones he already let out, what would be the difference in this case?”
Current MSNBC legal analyst and former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade oversaw the 2013 prosecution of Kilpatrick, and she noted “There were dozens and dozens of additional charges that could have been filed but weren’t.”
Kilpatrick, 49, is not eligible to be released until 2037. He will be 67. In the meantime, he’s hoping Trump will come to his rescue after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear his case.