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Detroit mayor faces felony charges

  • Story Highlights
  • Mayor Kilpatrick: "I look forward to complete exoneration"
  • Prosecutor announces perjury, other charges against Detroit mayor, ex-aide
  • Detroit paper reported in January romantic text messages between the two
  • Allegations of an affair arose during whistle-blower trial involving two officers
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DETROIT, Michigan (CNN) -- Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and a former aide were charged Monday with perjury and obstruction of justice after prosecutors said sexually explicit text messages between the two contradicted their sworn court testimony.

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Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick reportedly sent romantic texts to his chief of staff, contradicting earlier testimony.

Kilpatrick defiantly declared his innocence just an hour after the charges were announced.

"This has been a very flawed process from the beginning," Kilpatrick said at a press conference Monday. "I look forward to complete exoneration."

Kilpatrick, who is married, has been snarled in a well-publicized sex scandal since January after the Detroit Free Press reported he exchanged romantic text messages with his then-chief of staff, Christine Beatty.

The paper reported in January that in an analysis of nearly 14,000 text messages on Beatty's city-issued pager, it found some from 2002 and 2003 that indicated the two were having a romantic affair. Video See what reporters who broke the story say »

The newspaper report contradicted testimony Kilpatrick, a Democrat, gave last August in a court case brought by police officers against the mayor and the city of Detroit alleging the mayor retaliated against the officers for their role in investigating his office. Critics alleged that Kilpatrick committed perjury in the case and called for his resignation.

In testimony during that case, Kilpatrick and Beatty both denied having a romantic relationship. Beatty resigned as Kilpatrick's chief of staff on January 28. Video Watch a report about the messages »

Prosecutor Kym Worthy said she charged Kilpatrick and Beatty with multiple counts of perjury, obstruction of justice and misconduct in office in a 12-count indictment. The most serious charges carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

Worthy also said others may be charged in the case. She asked Kilpatrick and Beatty to turn themselves in by Tuesday morning. Video Watch the press conference »

"Even children understand that lying is wrong. Witnesses must give truthful testimony," she said.

Worthy had strong words for Kilpatrick during a press conference Monday and said city officials tried to hamper her investigation.

"At every bend and turn, there have been efforts by the city to block our investigation," she said. "We had to go to court to get documents we subpoenaed on January 31. We have been told some other documents have been destroyed."

Last week, the Detroit City Council voted seven to one to ask Kilpatrick to resign, a city clerk said. The vote was nonbinding, and Kilpatrick has continued on the job.

Kilpatrick offered an abject apology to his constituents January 30, but remained adamant he would not resign.

"I truly apologize to each and every one of you, individually and to the whole city," Kilpatrick said in a sometimes emotional televised statement.

Sitting next to his wife, Carlita, he also apologized to "my entire family, and specifically to the four people I love most in this world" -- his wife and his sons, 12-year-old twins Jelani and Jalil and 6-year-old Jonas.

"Over the past few days, there has been some speculation about who is in charge of the city," Kilpatrick said. "Make no mistake about it: Since 2002, I have been in charge of the city. There have been ups and downs. There have been hills and mountains and valleys, but through it all, I remain in charge of the city."

On speculation regarding a possible resignation, the mayor said, "Let me be clear: I would never quit on you. Ever. We've got a lot of work to do, and with your help, I'm going to continue to lead this city in getting the work done."

Kilpatrick was frank about the pain the allegations have caused his family. "I'm responsible for that," he said.

"For the first time in my life, I had to have a conversation with my 12-year-old twin sons about very grown-up things. It was, without a doubt, the hardest conversation that I've ever had in my entire life."

Regarding his wife, he said, "Our marriage has not been perfect, but it has been great. Now I've put her in a situation which many couples deal with in the privacy of their own homes. But in our case, it's on the front page of the newspaper."

Carlita Kilpatrick also spoke. "Yes, I am angry. Yes, I am hurt and I am disappointed, but there is no question that I love my husband," she said. The couple has been working "through some very painful issues" with help from their pastor and others, she said.

"Our family has endured the most painful and intrusive week of our lives," she said. "Our most intimate issues have been laid out for all to see. ... However, this private matter is between me, my husband and God. We are deeply committed to working through these issues together as a family."

The mayor and his wife urged Detroit residents -- and the media -- to allow them privacy and space.

"If you have to attack someone, attack me," Kilpatrick said. "I would ask that you don't follow my wife, you don't film my kids going to school. I ask you not to have helicopters flying around our home. I ask that you leave them alone. I am the mayor. I made the mistake. I am accountable."

He said he could not discuss specifics of the situation because of pending "legal issues."

Kilpatrick said he knew residents have been waiting to hear from him, but on the previous weekend, for the first time since he took office six years ago, "I just put everything aside and focused on my family."

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He said he told his sons that when you make a mistake, "you learn from it. You get up, you dust yourself off and you keep moving forward," adding that he hopes the city will keep moving forward.

"God bless you, Detroit," he said. "I love you, and I'll see you at work tomorrow." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Chris Lawrence contributed to this report.

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