"I lied under oath."
And so, with those words, the political life of Kwame Kilpatrick, the mayor of Detroit, is over. Today he pleaded guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice. He will resign, pay $1M to the City of Detroit, and spend 120 days in prison.
The details of the story are available on numerous webpages; the more you look at the story, the more sordid and bizarre it becomes.
It all starts with a torrid love affair between Kilpatrick (who was, and is, married) and a subordinate. Now, as morally reprehensible as that is, that's not what brought him down.
When people started finding out about it, he covered it up. When two police officers started poking around, he fired them. When the police officers sued, Kilpatrick lied under oath in the proceedings. (Eventually, he settled out of court, spending over $8M of the city's money in payments to the officers.) When the evidence of the affair was finally leaked to the public, and an investigation was launched, Kilpatrick assaulted two officers who were serving a summons.
Kilpatrick isn't going to jail because he committed adultery. He's going to jail because he lied about it under oath, and then committed other crimes in order to cover up the adultery and the lies.
Friends (especially my young friends), please learn the lesson. Usually, it's not the crime that gets you in trouble. It's the cover-up.
Kwame Kilpatrick wasn't convicted for adultery. He was convicted for obstruction of justice by lying under oath.
Martha Stewart wasn't convicted for insider trading. She was convicted for obstruction of justice and lying under oath.
Most of those invovled in the Watergate scandal were convicted not for breaking-and-entering, but for lying, perjury, and obstruction of justice.
Heck, Al Capone wasn't convicted of murder and blackmail. He was convicted for lying to the IRS about his (illegal) income and thereby not paying taxes on that income.
Friends ... live a good upright life, so that you never end up in these situations. But if you end up in a compromising position, when you get caught, don't cover it up. It only gets worse.
Here endeth the lesson.