THE GUY WHO ALMOST RAN HOMELAND SECURITY GETS FOUR YEARS IN PRISON
NY TIMES - Bernard B. Kerik, a former New York police commissioner who rose to national prominence, was sentenced to four years in prison on Thursday after pleading guilty to eight felony charges, including tax fraud and lying to White House officials.
Under the terms of a plea agreement reached in November on the eve of his trial, the prosecution and the defense recommended that Judge Stephen C. Robinson sentence Mr. Kerik to 27 to 33 months in prison. But the judge departed from the sentencing recommendations, giving Mr. Kerik a longer sentence.
"I think it's fair to say that with great power comes great responsibility and great consequences," Judge Robinson said. "I think the damage caused by Mr. Kerik is in some ways immeasurable."
The sentencing was the end of a legal saga in which federal prosecutors denounced Mr. Kerik, a former detective who rose to the upper echelons of power, as a corrupt official who sought to trade his authority for lavish benefits. . .
He was a close ally of former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, whom he served as a bodyguard and driver. Mr. Giuliani then tapped him for a senior position in the Correction Department, and he went on to become the agency's commissioner. As testament to his clout, Mr. Kerik had a jail named after him in downtown
Mr. Kerik later served as police commissioner, and his performance during after 9/11 attacks turned him into a national figure, earning him the respect of President George W. Bush, who nominated him to lead the Department of Homeland Security. That bid quickly collapsed in scandal, marking the beginning of the end of Mr. Kerik's career.
The case against Mr. Kerik centered on charges that a
In addition to pleading guilty to two counts of tax fraud and one count of making a false statement on a loan application, Mr. Kerik also pleaded guilty to five counts of making false statements to the federal government while being vetted for senior posts.
THE BACK STORY
Giuliani made his buddy Bernie Kerik commissioner of police even though, as reporter Wayne Barrett noted, "you take a guy who was really only in the NYPD for seven years. He had the scantest police background. He never passed an exam in the NYPD. He was twenty-four credits shy of a college degree, and a college degree is required of lieutenants. He was competing with-for the police commissioner's job - a thirty-seven-year veteran who had gone completely up the ranks to the highest-ranking uniformed officer in the department, and Rudy picks his buddy Bernie."
Giuliani named Kerik despite a wealth of available cautions, as reported by Bill Van Auken in World Socialist: "The city's Department of Investigations had uncovered his ties to the mob-linked firm during its investigations of the company and they were aired again in the routine probe of Kerik when he was nominated to head the police department. And one of the principal officials Kerik was lobbying on the company's behalf was the head of the city's Trade Waste Commission, who just happened to be Giuliani's cousin.. . . In the aftermath of September 11, it emerged that Kerik had taken over an apartment overlooking the rubble of ground zero meant to serve as a rest area for rescue and recovery workers. Instead, he appropriated it to carry on two simultaneous extramarital affairs, one with a female jail guard and the other with his millionaire publisher.".
Giuliani also heavily pushed Kerik to be Secretary of Homeland Security,. Kerik subsequently withdrew and not long after was indicted. According to one press account, "While some aides had uncovered information about Kerik's links to mob-connected individuals, Alberto Gonzales, then the president's counsel and later US attorney general, overrode their concerns and recommended his appointment to the Homeland Security post."