Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was charged Monday with misconduct in office, obstruction of justice, conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and perjury, felonies that could end the Democrat's political career and send him to prison.

Among the eight felony counts against him, Kilpatrick is accused of authorizing the city of Detroit to settle an $8.4 million lawsuit with several former police officers "with the corrupt motive" of preventing the release of text messages that would have revealed that he had lied under oath in the case, the charging documents say.

Ignoring mounting demands that he step down, Kilpatrick said: "I look forward to complete exoneration once all the facts have been brought forth. I will remain focused on moving this city forward."

The 37-year-old has until 7 a.m. today to turn himself in to the authorities.

Kilpatrick's former chief of staff, Christine Beatty, 37, also faces seven felony counts in the indictment.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy began her inquiry in late January, the day after the Detroit Free Press published excerpts from 14,000 text messages that were sent or received in 2002-03 from Beatty's city-issued pager.

The messages called into question testimony Kilpatrick and Beatty gave in a lawsuit filed by two police officers who alleged that they were fired for investigating claims that the mayor used his security unit to cover up extramarital affairs.

In court, Kilpatrick and Beatty strongly denied having an intimate relationship, but the text messages reveal that they carried on a flirty, sometimes sexually explicit dialogue about where to meet and how to conceal their trysts.

Kilpatrick is married with three children. Beatty was married at the time and has two children.