SkyTel Named in Michigan Text Suit
DETROIT (AP) — Attorneys representing ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on Tuesday filed a civil suit against Detroit's former communications provider.
The lawsuit against SkyTel was filed in Hinds County, Mississippi. SkyTel is based in Jackson, Miss.
Kilpatrick's Stuart, Fla.-based attorney Willie E. Gary said in a release Monday they were demanding $100 million from SkyTel. The lawsuit does not list a dollar amount.
The suit claims Kilpatrick's rights were violated by the release of text messages from his city-issued pager. Many of the messages contained sexually explicit dialogue between the married Kilpatrick and ex-chief of staff Christine Beatty.
The lawsuit says the contents of the messages were "illegally disclosed" by SkyTel and "illegally" obtained others, including the Detroit Free Press.
The Free Press first published excerpts of the text messages in January 2008. The newspaper has said they obtained the messages legally but hasn't said how it received them.
SkyTel attorney Thomas Plunkett told The Associated Press before the lawsuit was filed Tuesday that the company was compelled by court orders to release the texts. A message was left for Plunkett on Tuesday afternoon.
Kilpatrick and Beatty were charged with perjury and other crimes last year after the published texts contradicted their courtroom denials of an affair. The pair had testified in a civil lawsuit brought by police officers who said their careers were ruined by Kilpatrick because of suspicions about his inner circle.
Kilpatrick and Beatty each pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice. The ex-mayor left jail in February after 99 days and has been allowed by a judge to move to Texas for a high-tech sales job. Beatty is due to be released April 15.