Ex-NYPD Commissioner Kerik pleads guilty
(AP) - Former New York City PoliceCommissioner Bernard Kerik admitted in court Thursday that he liedto the White House while being considered for chief of HomelandSecurity.
Kerik - hailed as a hero after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack- also pleaded guilty to lying on tax returns, a loan applicationand a questionnaire he filled out when he was seeking a separateU.S. government position.
Under his plea bargain, which short-circuited as many as threefederal trials, he was not required to plead guilty to the maincorruption charges against him. Those charges will be dismissed.
In a low but firm voice, Kerik said "guilty" eight times as headmitted to eight felonies, including lying about paying taxes onhis children's nanny, hiding income from the Internal RevenueService and faking a charitable contribution.
Kerik acknowledged failing to declare on his tax returns bookroyalties, consultant fees and the use of a BMW.
In the plea agreement, prosecutors suggested to Judge StephenRobinson that the appropriate sentence would be between 27 and 33months in prison. Robinson noted that he is not bound by thatsuggestion when he sentences Kerik on Feb. 18. The judge said themaximum sentence is 61 years.
Kerik, who was jailed last month for sharing secret pretrialinformation, may be released before his sentencing. Defenseattorney Michael Bachman said he would apply within a few days, andthe judge said he would seriously consider the request.
The judge also said he would consider Kerik's accomplishmentswhen he sentences him.
Kerik was police commissioner when New York was attacked in 2001and was praised worldwide for his steely leadership. At the urgingof his mentor, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Kerik was nominatedto the top Homeland Security post in 2004, the peak of afast-rising career.
He said in court that while being vetted for that position, hedenied that he had any financial dealings with anyone doingbusiness with New York City and that he had specifically refusedpayments that were offered. He admitted Thursday, however, that hehad actually accepted renovations of his Bronx apartment from acompany seeking city work.
Those apartment renovations were the focus of the originalcorruption charge, which alleged that Kerik accepted therenovations in exchange for vouching for the company. Kerik did notadmit to that.
Kerik could be fined in addition to being sentenced to prison.He has already agreed to pay nearly $188,000 in restitution and toresummit his personal tax returns for six years, paying past-duetaxes and penalties.
The charges against him had been divided into corruptionallegations, tax crimes and lying to the White House. Three trialswould have been required, two in White Plains and one inWashington.