updated 3/4/2009 6:50:08 PM ET 2009-03-04T23:50:08

A judge on Wednesday ordered the release of approximately 1,400 text messages sent or received by Detroit's disgraced former mayor and his ex-lover on their city pagers.

The text messages are public records and are not subject to attorney-client and other privileges as claimed by attorneys for former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and ex-chief of staff Christine Beatty, Wayne County Circuit Judge Timothy Kenny ruled.

Kenny said the messages might be "shedding light on government misconduct," which trumps efforts to keep them secret.

The messages, including some communications with a city lawyer, were under seal as part of the criminal case against Christine Beatty, who was Kilpatrick's top aide and his lover.

But Beatty is in jail for obstruction of justice after choosing a plea bargain. With her case finished, the Detroit Free Press had asked that the messages be unsealed, saying they might reveal corruption during the Kilpatrick years.

"It certainly vindicates our position and does so in a very dramatic way," Free Press attorney Herschel Fink said. "There may be evidence of illegality. He (the judge) certainly said that."

The messages will be released Monday unless the state appeals court intervenes, the judge said. The city of Detroit and lawyers for Kilpatrick and Beatty said they didn't know if they would appeal.

Kilpatrick and Beatty pleaded guilty to committing obstruction of justice to cover up their affair, which came to light in January 2008 when the Free Press published text messages contradicting their sworn testimony. While testifying in a civil lawsuit in 2007, they had denied having a sexual relationship.

Kilpatrick was released from jail in February after 99 days and hopes to move to the Dallas area, where he has a sales job with an affiliate of Detroit-based Compuware Corp.

More on: Kwame Kilpatrick

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