Convicted Metro Airport Official Seeks Release Amid Coronavirus

A former Detroit Metropolitan Airport supervisor who was convicted of receiving bribes wants a delay to the start of his prison sentence due to the coronavirus pandemic. He was convicted of 10 crimes this past June and was set to report to federal prison for a ten-year sentence starting April 2nd. His defense stressed the fact that incarcerated individuals are at special risk of infection, given their living situations. They are also in a more difficult position to take any proactive measures to keep themselves safe from infection. The setting of a prison or jail is a challenging measure during an outbreak. Michigan’s cases of coronavirus have exploded in recent weeks, and Detroit is considered one of the world’s worst hotspots for the virus currently. The state of Michigan has had nearly 5,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of this writing with over 125 deaths. The governor has declared a state of emergency in the state and has entered a “shelter in place” order that has left many Michiganders stuck at home. More and more cases are being confirmed inside and outside jails on a daily basis. Many state court judges are allowing releases of certain prisoners amid the outbreak.

Original Case Details

James Warner was convicted of receiving over $6 million in bribes, which amounted to the third highest amount in United States history. Prosecutors said that he steered nearly $44 million worth of airport maintenance and repair contracts to three other people who were co-conspirators. These contracts were for the improvement of the runways and parking structures at Detroit Metro Airport. Warner’s $6 million dollars came in the form of kickbacks. In addition to being the third highest amount historically nationwide, it is also the highest total in the history of public corruption cases in the Detroit area. The government seized more than $11 million from all those investigated in this case. Prosecutors pushed for 25 years in prison in this case, while Warner’s defense lawyers pushed for no more than four years. The judge ended up giving Warner a ten-year sentence, noting that while his corruption was evident, his crimes did not cause as much damage as other corruption cases like former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick was seen as someone who contributed to the fall of the city of Detroit, and he was punished in that vain. Kilpatrick currently has the record for the longest sentence for a corruption case at 28 years, a number only Ohio County politician Jimmy Dimora has matched.

Federal Charges Involved

Warner was convicted of 10 crimes. His crimes included conspiracy, federal program bribery, federal program theft, money laundering, and obstruction of justice. He was convicted by a jury following a three-week trial in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Each of the federal program theft and federal program bribery charges carry a maximum of ten years in federal prison. Each money laundering charges carry a ten-year maximum as well. The bribery and theft conspiracy charges carry the lowest maximum of the charges at five years in federal prison; while the obstruction of justice charge carries the highest maximum of all of the charges at 20 years in federal prison. Each charge that Warner was convicted of carries a maximum fine of $250,000 each. Based on his convictions, Warner had a sentencing guidelines range of 292 to 365 months in prison.

Any Further Questions?

If you have any additional questions relating to this case or anything else related to public corruption, then we are happy to offer a FREE consultation. If you or someone you love is facing a criminal charge or is currently being investigated for a possible criminal charge, then it is important to seek the advice and counsel of an attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, we have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully representing clients in both federal and state court respectively. We are a criminal defense firm, it’s all we do. We are available by phone on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide offices. We can also come to you.

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