DETROIT – The former chief of staff to ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was released from jail early Monday after serving 69 days for obstruction of justice.
Christine Beatty, accompanied by her attorney, pastor and others, walked out of the Wayne County Jail in downtown Detroit about 12:10 a.m. Monday.
"I'm just anxious to go home and be with my children," Beatty told about a dozen reporters and several dozen onlookers, some of whom applauded as she walked out the jail doors. "I'm very happy and I'm ready to go home."
Beatty said her two daughters were not told she would be coming home Monday.
"It's a surprise for them," said Beatty, who added she would "probably just cry" at the reunion.
The early exit had been in doubt until county Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny ruled Friday that Beatty's participation in a jail work program entitled her to leave before an April 15 release date.
Beatty testified Friday that she folded sheets and other linen because she understood jail officials would take time off her four-month sentence. She pleaded guilty in December and was sentenced Jan. 6.
She and one-time lover Kilpatrick, both 38, were accused of lying on the stand during a 2007 whistle-blowers' trial about their relationship and roles in the firing of a police official.
The Detroit Free Press in January 2008 published excerpts of sexually explicit text messages from Beatty's city-issued pager. The text messages from 2002 and 2003 contradicted their testimony.
Beatty resigned in February 2008. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy charged both the following month with perjury, obstruction of justice and misconduct.
Kilpatrick, a Democrat, was released Feb. 3 after serving 99 days of his four-month sentence. He pleaded guilty in September to two counts of obstruction of justice and no contest to assault.
As part of his pleas, Kilpatrick agreed to resign from the mayor's office and stepped down Sept. 18. He was sentenced Oct. 28.
He and Beatty each must serve five years' probation. Kilpatrick lost his law license and Beatty cannot attend law school during her probation time.
While the disgraced ex-mayor is responsible for paying the city $1 million in restitution, Beatty was ordered to pay $100,000. Her job prospects are uncertain. Her attorney, Mayer Morganroth, said he expects her to spend Monday with her children, then start looking for a job.
Beatty told reporters she didn't know what her future plans will be.
A judge has ruled Kilpatrick could leave Michigan and join his wife and sons in Texas. Kilpatrick will work in the Dallas area for Compuware Corp. subsidiary Covisint.
Click to read about Kilpatrick's legacy as mayor.