DETROIT – Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has implemented a new policy that text messages sent on city-owned devices are considered private.
Kilpatrick and his ex-top aide face perjury charges for testimony they gave during a whistleblowers' trial that they didn't have a romantic relationship. Sexually explicit text messages have contradicted that testimony.
Kilpatrick's lawyers say federal law protects the release of such communications.
Past policy had been electronic communications were public. The mayor's office said in a statement Thursday that city policies are always subject to change.
The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press say the new policy began April 15.
The embarrassing messages between Kilpatrick and Christine Beatty from 2002 and 2003 appear in an 18-page document released April 29 on the orders of Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Robert J. Colombo Jr. in response to a lawsuit by the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News.
The document includes descriptions of sexual trysts, the frequent use of the N-word by the mayor and Beatty as a term of endearment, and discussions of marriage.
On Sept. 15, 2002, Beatty described a sex act she wanted to perform on the mayor but said she didn't know how to approach him about it. He replied: "Next time, just tell me to sit down, shut up and do your thing!"
Later that month, the pair appeared to arrange a sexual encounter in Beatty's office. On Sept. 19, 2002, Beatty wrote to Kilpatrick: "I have wanted to hold you so badly all day, but I was trying to stay focused on work. So, I promise, not to keep you longer than 15 minutes."
Kilpatrick replied: "Don't promise (N-word.)"
Beatty said: "I'm in my office. Do you want me to come to yours or you coming to mine?"
Kilpatrick said: "I'm coming down there ... LOL ditto. Freaky Chris!"
The text messages also appear to show Kilpatrick was involved in the decision to fire one of the former officers, former Deputy Chief Gary Brown, which Kilpatrick also denied under oath as part of the lawsuit.
In a text message Beatty sent to Kilpatrick on May 15, 2003, that was contained in the document released Tuesday, she said: "I'm sorry that we are going through this mess because of a decision that we made to fire Gary Brown."
Kilpatrick said last September that the city would appeal a jury's verdict in favor of two officers in one of the lawsuits. But after Stefani gave one of Kilpatrick's lawyers a motion for attorney's fees that contained excerpts of the text messages, the suit was settled and the motion was never filed in court.
The judge said Tuesday he agreed to release the document because he believes it directly led to the deal that was reached between the three former officers and the city.
Following a community forum Tuesday evening, Kilpatrick questioned the authenticity of the messages and said their release did not provide a "the smoking gun" some had expected.
"All the lawyers have testified that this had nothing to do with the settlement." Kilpatrick said.
"It seems that it's just a regurgitation of old news. And it's unfortunate that now we're printing something as true that came off somebody's computer," he said.
Mayer Morganroth, who represents Beatty, said he believes the text messages were obtained illegally and the excerpts should not have been released.
Most of the text messages included in the document focus on the relationship between Kilpatrick and Beatty, both 37, who have been friends since high school.
On April 8, 2003, Beatty wrote: "You told me that you would be my boyfriend everyday until I was your wife. Are you renigging?"
Kilpatrick replied: "Hell no! Don't start none. Won't be none ...! LOL".
Kilpatrick remains married to his wife, Carlita. Beatty left her husband at the end of April 2003, according to the document.
On April 13, 2003, Beatty wrote to Kilpatrick: "It is sometimes so amazing how much I love you. I can't even describe most of the time how I feel inside when I think about you. You are an amazing man. Everything about you makes me love you. Your passion about life, your sense of humor, your presence, and your love of family."
On May 1, 2003, Beatty referred to her separation from her husband: "I can't see living this way with us being a 'secret' forever. I love you so much and I want to tell somebody, someday! (Smile)."
Kilpatrick responded: "In this important and somewhat confusing time in your life, please know with all our hearts and soul that I love you. And you will never, never be alone."