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Detroit mayor apologizes to supporters, says he will not resign

  • Story Highlights
  • Detroit paper reports romantic text messages between mayor and staff member
  • Allegations of an affair arose during whistle-blower trial involving two officers
  • Kilpatrick and Beatty, former chief of staff, both denied a romantic relationship
  • Mayor's wife said she is hurt, angry, but she loves her husband
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DETROIT, Michigan (CNN) -- Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick offered an abject apology to his constituents Wednesday, but remained adamant that he would not resign following a newspaper report that he exchanged romantic text messages with his chief of staff.

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

The report contradicted testimony the pair gave in a whistle-blower trial.

"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.

The Detroit Free Press reported last week that in an analysis of nearly 14,000 text messages on the city-issued pager of Christine Beatty, Kilpatrick's former chief of staff, it found some from 2002 and 2003 that indicated the two were having a romantic affair. Video Watch a report about the messages »

Allegations of an affair arose during the whistle-blower trial over the summer, which involved two officers suing Kilpatrick and the city. The officers alleged Kilpatrick had retaliated against them for their roles in an internal investigation involving possible misconduct in Kilpatrick's security unit, according to court documents.

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In testimony last August, Kilpatrick and Beatty both denied having a romantic relationship.

On Friday, the Wayne County prosecutor said that her office would investigate, but that any decision on whether Kilpatrick or Beatty will face charges would not be based on the newspaper article.

Beatty resigned as Kilpatrick's chief of staff on Monday.

"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 last 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

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