No prison time for Kilpatrick's right-hand man - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

No prison time for Kilpatrick's right-hand man

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    Thursday, May 29 2014 11:32 PM EDT2014-05-30 03:32:53 GMT
    He was former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's best friend and was once his right-hand man in City Hall. But when the corruption scandal unfolded, Derrick Miller testified against his former friend, helping to send the ex-mayor to prison.
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DETROIT (WJBK) - He was former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's best friend and was once his right-hand man in City Hall. But when the corruption scandal unfolded, Derrick Miller testified against his former friend, helping to send the ex-mayor to prison.

Now, Miller found out he was sparred prison and instead will spend a year in a halfway house.

It was at the old Cass Technical High School that Kilpatrick and Derrick Miller became best friends. They were so close that nothing even came between their jersey numbers - Miller was number 10 while Kilpatrick wore number 11.

As Kilpatrick rose through the political ranks Miller rose, too, becoming one of the highest ranking members of Kilpatrick's City Hall team.

But power wasn't the only thing they shared.

Miller told the feds he split $115,000 in cash kickbacks on City Hall real estate deals - and he was the mayor's bagman, handing Kilpatrick more than 20 grand in bribes from city contractors Karl Kado and Andrew Park.

The feds say the dirty deals Miller brokered cost taxpayers more than four million dollars.

It seemed that nothing could come between Kilpatrick and Miller.

Nothing, that is, except Bobby Ferguson.

The feds say Kilpatrick and Miller's relationship soured as Ferguson gained influence in City Hall. The strain between the men was evident when they appeared in federal court together shortly after they were indicted on public corruption charges.

But before the case went to trial Miller cut a deal, agreeing to tell all and testify against his former friend.

"Certainly the relationship is strained," says Miller's attorney, Byron Pitts.

The feds say Miller's cooperation was crucial in winning convictions against Kilpatrick and Ferguson. They call him "the only true insider on the government's witness list" and the feds say he admitted to things even they didn't know about.

Kilpatrick and Ferguson's lawyers accused Miller of saying anything to get a lighter sentence.

They were at least partly right.

Prosecutors have asked a judge to give Miller no more than three-and-a-half years in prison, far less than the 10 year maximum he could get for pleading guilty to public corruption and tax evasion.

Still, even the feds recommendation isn't lenient enough for Miller's attorney, Byron Pitts.

He is asking the judge not to send Miller away at all, citing his "essential and truthful testimony, remorse and overall history of outstanding public service."

Miller spoke exclusively to FOX 2's M.L. Elrick. You can hear the exclusive interview in the video player above.

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