City attorney in Kwame texting case suspended 90 days

The decision is in and it’s not good (but could have been much, much worse) for former Detroit Law Department attorney Valerie Colbert-Osamuede: she’s been suspended 90 days by the Attorney Discipline Board. [Detroit Free Press]

Detroit city attorney Valerie Colbert-Osamuede was given a 90-day suspension by the state’s attorney discipline panel for lying to a judge in the text message scandal and then lying to the legal profession’s watchdogs investigating her case.

Robert Agacinski, head of the Attorney Grievance Commission that investigated her case and brought the charges, said the penalty was too lenient and that he wants his directors’ permission to appeal it.

“We had asked for disbarment,” Agacinski said. “We knew we probably weren’t going to get that, but we wanted something more substantial.”

Colbert-Osamuede lied to virtually anybody involved with looking into the Kwame Kilpatrick text messaging scandal, including the AGC itself. It’s somewhat surprising, considering the penalty in the Karen Plants case last month. Plants allegedly allowed perjured testimony in a drug case and kept the information from her court and her supervisors.

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Kilpatrick hearing mercifully closes

Closing arguments on the Kwame Kilpatrick restitution case start today, signaling the beginning of the end of this particular ring in the Detroit political circus.

A decision is expected by Jan. 20 – not a day too soon.

DETROIT (AP) — Closing arguments in the restitution hearing of ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick are scheduled to start in Wayne County Circuit Court.

Kilpatrick’s attorney has said his client’s $6,000 monthly payment to Detroit should be halved because he makes less money as a salesman for Dallas-based Covisint than he did when that amount was set.

Kilpatrick already has made several $3,000 payments.

Prosecutors are expected to argue that Kilpatrick has not been truthful about his finances.

Judge David Groner says he will issue his ruling Jan. 20.

ADB hearing for another Kilpatrick text-message lawyer

It’s Wilson Copeland’s turn on the Attorney Discipline Board hot seat.

Copeland was one of several attorneys defending the city of Detroit in a whistleblower suit by two cops that lead to an $8.4 million settlement.

The deal was designed to keep private the now very public series of text messages that forced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick from office and into a short stint in the slammer.

According to The Detroit News

Hearings already have been completed for Michael Stefani, the lawyer who represented the whistleblower cops, and Samuel McCargo, a private practice lawyer hired by the city to represent then-Mayor Kilpatrick. Hearings for John E. Johnson, former head of the city’s legal department, and his assistant, current Deputy Corporation Counsel Valerie Colbert-Osamuede, have yet to be scheduled. …

The lawyers are accused of striking the secret deal instead of notifying the judge who oversaw the lawsuit that the messages had been obtained after the trial was completed in September of 2007 and jurors found in favor of the police officers.

The five also were accused of criminal wrongdoing for failing to notify authorities that the messages Stefani discovered made them aware of lies Kilpatrick and his former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty told on the witness stand to cover up their extra-marital affair. However, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has declined to press criminal charges, choosing instead to await the outcome of the attorney grievance process.

In ADB testimony yesterday, Copeland said that he never saw the text messages until The Detroit Free Press published excerpts that established Kilpatrick and Beatty’s perjury.