Bail revoked for ex-NYPD Commissioner Kerik
(AP) - An angry federal judge sent former NewYork City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik to jail Tuesday forsharing secret pretrial information with a "propagandist" whoKerik claimed was really his lawyer.
Kerik will be forced to await his upcoming corruption trialbehind bars. Judge Stephen Robinson found probable cause to believehe was in contempt of court and revoked his $500,000 bail.
His lawyers said they did not know if Kerik, who has been NewYork City's correction commissioner as well as police commissioner,had ever spent a night behind bars.
The judge said he could not find another way to keep Kerik, 54,from trying to contaminate witnesses and the potential jury pool.
"Mr. Kerik, if left to his own devices, will obstructjustice," the judge said. "My fear is that he has a toxiccombination of self-minded focus and arrogance, and I fear thatcombination leads him to believe that his ends justify his means."
The U.S. Marshals Service said he would be taken to theWestchester County jail in Valhalla.
Defense attorney Barry Berke said he would appeal the ruling andseek a stay. Robinson denied a request to keep Kerik out of jailpending the appeal.
Kerik was police commissioner when terrorists crashed jetlinersinto the two World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001. He andthen-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani received glowing reviews for theirleadership in the crisis. Kerik was later President George W.Bush's pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security, butwithdrew as corruption allegations mounted.
Kerik's trial is scheduled to begin Monday with jury selection.He is accused of accepting apartment renovations from aconstruction company in exchange for recommending the company forcity contracts. He has pleaded not guilty.
The issue in Tuesday's court session was Kerik's relationshipwith Anthony Modafferi, an Oakland, N.J., lawyer who at least untilrecently was the trustee of Kerik's legal defense fund and haswritten what the judge called "scurrilous" Internet articlesberating prosecutors.
Robinson said last month that Modafferi had sent The WashingtonTimes an e-mail that contained some information that was supposedto be under seal and some inaccurate information. The material wasnot published and has still not been disclosed in court. TimesExecutive Editor John Solomon said, "because the court was notmore specific, we're not sure what they claim was under seal."
The judge suggested at that court session that Kerik was feedinginformation to Modafferi for fundraising and propaganda purposes.He demanded an affidavit describing Kerik's connection to Modafferiand warned Kerik he could be jailed for inappropriate behavior.
On Tuesday, the judge disclosed that there had been a similarepisode earlier, involving a lawyer who talked to potentialwitnesses. The judge said he had sternly warned Kerik then, aswell, but no one told him about Modafferi.
Kerik lawyer Michael Bachner told the judge Kerik had sent thesealed information to Modafferi but did not expect him todisseminate it. The judge called that "nonsense."
Bachner also said Kerik had hired Modafferi to work for him as alawyer, though without pay and without any written agreement.Bachner said that meant it was not wrong for Kerik to send thesealed information to Modafferi. The judge said that was a "sham"arrangement, created after the fact.
Kerik faces a second trial on tax charges, and a third thatclaims he lied to White House officials vetting him for theposition of Homeland Security chief.