“Bernard B. Kerik, a former New York police commissioner, pleaded guilty to eight felonies in a Federal District Court in White Plains on Thursday morning,” the New York Times reports. “Mr. Kerik, who will be sentenced in February, faces 27 to 33 months in prison.”
From the Times report:
Wearing a blue suit and a red tie, Mr. Kerik, with a subdued expression, appeared in the packed courtroom and said, “Guilty, your honor,” as each of the charge were read by Judge Stephen C. Robinson. Throughout the 90-minute proceeding, Mr. Kerik’s lawyer, Michael F. Bachner, rubbed the defendant’s back in support.
Mr. Kerik, 54, pleaded guilty to two counts of tax fraud, one count of making a false statement on a loan application — the most serious — and five separate counts of making false statements to the federal government. These last charges stemmed from statements Mr. Kerik made to the White House during the vetting process after the Bush administration nominated him to lead the Department of Homeland Security. He later withdrew his name.
The New York Daily News notes that Kerik has become “the first NYPD Commissioner in city history to admit he’s a felon.”
“Robinson warned Kerik that the maximum sentence for the counts to which he was pleading was 61 years in prison; the judge said he was not bound by the terms of the plea agreement,” the Associated Press reports. “Kerik said he understood and told the judge he was giving up his right to appeal.”
The former police chief faced 142 years in jail and fines of almost five million dollars if convicted on all the charges.
Kerik was accused of secretly accepting more than 250,000 dollars in renovations to his apartment from a construction firm with suspected mafia ties while he was Corrections Department commissioner under Giuliani.
Kerik, who pleaded guilty in a state court last year to accepting the work, was also accused of not declaring a total of 236,000 dollars in rent he received on an luxury apartment in New York’s posh Upper East Side.
Other payments allegedly not declared include a total of 100,000 dollars received from a software company and a book publisher.
He was also accused of making false statements at the time he was being considered as head of the US Department of Homeland Security in 2004.
Kerik, who once served as Giuliani’s chauffeur and bodyguard, rose through the ranks of the police department to become police commissioner, enjoying hero status in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
He went on to help train Iraq’s fledgling police force after the US-led invasion in 2003.
(with AFP report)