DETROIT (MCT) — As Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his former chief of staff Christine Beatty were arraigned on felony charges Tuesday, a newly revealed text message showed that — back in 2003 — Kilpatrick was left scrambling to explain the reason for firing Detroit cop Gary Brown.

The previously undisclosed message, included in a report by an investigator for Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, shows the mayor pleading with staffers to provide a reason, more than six weeks after Brown was ousted from the department.

"We must answer the question? Why was Gary Brown fired," Kilpatrick wrote. "It will be asked, I need short, powerful answer. ... I just need a good answer whatever it might be."

Kilpatrick sent the message just hours before Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox was to announce the findings of his investigation into Brown's firing, allegations of wrongdoing by members of the mayor's security team, and a rumored but never-proven wild party at the mayoral Manoogian Mansion.

The text message, which Worthy obtained from the mayor's paging device in the course of her perjury investigation, contradicts the mayor's trial testimony last summer in Brown's lawsuit that he never fired the deputy chief but merely "unappointed" him for violating the chain of command.

Brown's firing had been a thorny issue for Kilpatrick's staff in the late spring of 2003.

According to text messages the Detroit Free Press obtained but did not previously publish, mayoral spokesman Jamaine Dickens sent Beatty the following text message on May 11, 2003 — two days after Kilpatrick dismissed Brown.

"Freep called. Says they hear that mayor fired Gary Brown from DPD. Want to confirm. I know the chief hires and fires, but is he gone?"

Beatty replied: "Yes he is gone. You don't need to say that the mayor fired him. He was simply let go. Let me know before you make a comment."

The text message Worthy disclosed Tuesday was obtained by subpoena from SkyTel, the Mississippi-based telecommunications company that provided the paging devices to the city for Kilpatrick and Beatty. Until Tuesday, only messages obtained by the Free Press that passed through Beatty's paging device had been made public.