If this was not already clear, the message is coming through loud and clear today. If you're the mayor of a major American city or, say, his chief of staff ... if you're a public employee using government-supplied computers, pagers, cellphones, cybersex is just a bad idea.
In a special investigation, the Detroit Free Press has exposed Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick as not only a text-happy horndog but also a perjurer. The paper got ahold of some 14,000 text message exchanges between Kilpatrick and chief of staff Christine Beatty. The contents of those messages has set Detroit abuzz.
The two testified in a whistleblower trial that they were not having a relationship and that they did not fire deputy police chief Gary Brown in 2003. The IMs expose both of these assertions as lies.
It seems Brown and mayoral bodyguard Harold Nelthrope were part of an investigation into the mayor's security team, an investigation that could have exposed the affair. They were fired -- Beatty recalls the "decision that we made to fire Gary Brown" in one IM -- before they got too close.
But onto the love chat.
April 8, 2003: Beatty: "And, did you miss me, sexually?" Kilpatrick: "Hell yeah! You couldn't tell. I want some more. "
Oct. 16, 2002: Kilpatrick: "I've been dreaming all day about having you all to myself for 3 days. Relaxing, laughing, talking, sleeping and making love."
The paper said many more of the messages were very sexually explicit but declined to release most of those.
Kirkpatrick has fought like hell to stop these messages from getting out. The city fought in court to keep them out of the hands of the former cops' lawyers and went back to court to block a subpoena by the Detroit Free Press.
The two could be charged with felony perjury and if convicted would face a maximum of 15 years in prison. Kilpatrick could also face disbarment by the state Bar Association for lying under oath.
The city eventually settled with the cops for $9 million, which the paper said is a financial blow to a struggling city with huge unemployment, especially since the suit might have been settled for a quarter of that years ago.
During the trial, Kilpatrick expressed outrage that an affair was alleged:
I think it was pretty demoralizing to her -- you have to know her -- but it's demoralizing to me as well," he said. "My mother is a congresswoman. There have always been strong women around me. My aunt is a state legislator. I think it's absurd to assert that every woman that works with a man is a whore. I think it's disrespectful not just to Christine Beatty but to women who do a professional job that they do every single day. And it's also disrespectful to their families as well.
The ultimate blow to taxpayers: Because they were sued in their official capacities, Kilpatrick and Beatty didn't have to pay a penny of the settlement. If convicted of perjury, though, the mayor, not the taxpayers, will do the prison time.