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DETROIT (WJBK) -
A federal judge has sentenced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to 28 years in prison for his role in a public corruption scandal that cost the city millions and ended a career for the once promising politician.
U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds handed down the sentence Thursday afternoon after Kilpatrick apologized to Detroiters, telling a packed gallery, "I really messed up."
Kilpatrick spoke for nearly 30 minutes saying he "absolutely hated his job" six months after taking office in 2002 and put out "an air of false confidence." He didn't specifically address his crimes but said he respects the jury's verdict. He was convicted of conspiracy, extortion, bribery and tax crimes last March.
Prosecutors said Kilpatrick ran a "private profit machine" out of Detroit's City Hall. The government presented evidence to show he got a share of the spoils after ensuring that co-defendant Bobby Ferguson's excavating company was awarded millions in work from the water department.
"He created a `pay-to-play' system for the provision of city goods and services, which compromised vast swaths of city government, including the water and sewer system, the convention center, the pension system, casino developments and recreation centers.City government essentially became up for grabs for the right price," prosecutors said in a court filing last week.
Ferguson is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday. He was convicted of 9 counts of public corruption. Prosecutors argued that he should get a sentence similar to Kilpatrick's. Ferguson's attorneys have said he should get no more than 10 years.
Kilpatrick's father, Bernard, is scheduled to be sentenced next week. He was convicted of one count of filing a false tax return.
Kilpatrick, 43, quit office in 2008 because of a different scandal involving sexually explicit text messages and an extramarital affair.