The Deal: Kerik’s Too Dirty To Prosecute

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[On The Spot]

Inmate Bernard Bailey Kerik appeared in courtroom 218 before Judge Stephen Robinson last Thursday to avoid any trial on his 16-count federal criminal indictment case. 

Whatever happened to that fantasy his handlers had sold the public about a brave police commander kicking through the debris of fallen buildings after 9/11 to hold the City together? Well lies can only take you so far—the rest is up to you.

Last week there was no hero—there was just inmate Kerik wearing a dark suit, white shirt and red tie. He was escorted by court security. He was not cuffed coming in or leaving the courtroom.

It was a long time coming for a guy like Kerik who has gotten away for so long committing crimes, under color of law, until his greed got the best of him and he was forced.  He finally appeared in a court of law to repeat “Guilty,” eight times to crimes he knowingly and intentionally committed.  Inmate Kerik violated his oath, his office, and the good service to the citizens of New York City.  He did not answer to these counts because they were knocked off the table in the plea agreement. 

Judge Robinson probed Inmate Kerik with questions ranging from his mental state to whether he had full knowledge of the crimes he was volunteering to accept as a plea bargain agreement with the government.  Unlike what happened in his Bronx state case, this time Inmate Kerik will be pleading guilty to felony counts, which includes jail time.  However, the plea is somewhat of a sweetheart deal because it prevents a jury and the citizens of NYC from hearing the core of Inmate Kerik’s transgressions.

The Department of Justice and Inmate Kerik’s attorney would not answer the question: “How did a second plea bargain agreement get put on the table?”

Inmate Kerik had turned down the first plea deal in March 2007 when he was offered less than two years jail time for his crimes.  The DOJ secures more evidence, gets an indictment, spends tens of thousands of tax-payers’ dollars on hearings and two years later, how can asking for less than three years appear being serious? 

Minus the cake and ice cream, Inmate Kerik received a late birthday gift and snatched this plea deal without a second thought. You have to ask, is this plea deal really benefiting Inmate Kerik and if so, what did he bring to bargain with? There were some serious crimes taken off the table and at this juncture, all these crimes call for serious jail time.

In my November 17, 2007, Black Star News column I wrote: “I have said in my column since 2000 that once a true investigation commenced on Bernard Bailey Kerik that it would never end.”

Before the sentencing date, Judge Robinson, The Department of Probation and the DOJ need to take a look at Inmate Kerik’s crimes committed at the DOC when he was the commissioner.  As a Correction department officer I have provided details in my recent and past columns.

Had a trial commenced against Inmate Kerik, just imagine the list of witnesses who might have been called; former mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who may have been tied to some of these crimes; Joseph Tacopina Kerik’s state attorney who may have been called as a witness against him; Michael Caruso, who formerly headed the DOC Department of Investigation and who supposedly vetted Inmate Kerik for the DOC commissioner post –and has his own pending lawsuit in Manhattan District Court; Larry Ray, with alleged mob ties, who was Inmate Kerik’s best man at his wedding; Peter and Frank Ditommaso the two brothers with alleged mob ties who fixed up Kerik’s Bronx apartment and are facing their own Bronx Supreme Court trial in December; Tom Antenen, Kerik’s media guy who lied and covered up Kerik’s criminal tracks; and many others. 

The trial would just have been a big mess and it is very clear, Inmate Kerik is just too dirty to prosecute. Too many heads would have to fall on the chopping block.

When Inmate Kerik walked into the courtroom he had this look on his face that proclaimed – I hope this whole nightmare is over.  You could kind of read what he wanted say: “Let’s just get it over with.” 

He spoke in a very soft voice and answered the judge’s questions with a, “Yes,” “yes sir,” or “yes your honor.”  The judge treated Inmate Kerik with kindness and spoke to him like one human being to another.  He covered every ground possible to make sure Kerik knew and understood he was pleading guilty to felony charges. 

“Mr. Kerik, you are pleading guilty because you knowingly are in fact guilty? 

“Yes your honor,” Inmate Kerik whimpered.

Inmate Kerik waived his jurisdiction rights on his District of Columbia indictment, wherein he was charged two counts for lying to President Bush on his application for the Homeland Security Secretary job.  “The Department of Probation can ask for more charges, if they find something more than what you and your attorneys and the government attorneys agree to,” Judge Robinson warned Kerik. The judge offered Inmate Kerik more time to think about the plea as well as a free attorney; Kerik rejected the offer.

It was clear Inmate Kerik came to court with a new demeanor. As if he had already been reformed and waiting to hear all his crimes dismissed without any further action. 

“Kerik, 54, faces a statutory maximum sentence of 61 years; has agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $187,931 and is also subject to additional fines,” United States Attorney Preet Bharara wrote in his court brief. 

“It is a sad day when the former chief law enforcement officer of New York City pleads guilty to eight federal felonies,” Bharara added. “But no one is above the law.  And this office will not hesitate to pursue any public official who violates his oath and betrays the public trust.”

This was not a sad day; in fact it was a good day. On December 3, 2004, after President George W. Bush nominated Inmate Kerik to be the next Homeland Security Chief, following Giuliani’s recommendation, which began the snowball effect of Inmates Kerik’s corruption being exposed to the world and the breach of security on the part of the White House. 

Maybe the action taken on the part of the DOJ can be looked upon as lukewarm, but, in all respects a good day indeed. After a decade of crimes and corruption being ignored by the courts and elected officials justice took a small step forward and said to one of their own: “No more; you’ve abused your authority for too long.”

What’s sad is that this may be the first time in Inmate Kerik’s life that he’s being punished for doing what is wrong. Inmate Kerik did not accomplish all his wrongdoings and crimes by himself. He was groomed and put in high places by his mentor Giuliani, a man who also violated his oath and deprived New York City good services.

“Anyone with common sense already knows Giuliani does not need to ever head another position in government anywhere in this country,” is how I had put it in my Black Star News column on December 15, 2004.

Judge Robinson finally told Kerik: “I think you had a full life; there is much good in that full life, I believe.” 

Inmate Kerik had his head down and it seemed he brought it up to hear what the judge was saying as he gave a little nod in agreement.  However, those were not just words coming from a judge; they were meaningful words coming from an African-American judge, something that is missing from Kerik’s book, “The Lost Son,” where he speaks very negatively about Black men because those are the memories he has held and lived with for so long.

Perhaps Kerik and this columnist were the only two people in court that day fully appreciating this irony.

He caused much misery and suffering when he summarily dismissed more than 100 correction officers of color without due process when he was the Corrections Commissioner.

My prediction: Inmate Kerik will be home before Thanksgiving to spend the holidays with his family. His sentencing date has been set down for February 18, 2010.

Happy New Year Kerik. 


Contact Winkfield about covering your own story: (646) 387-8964.  On The Spot, Post Office Box 230149, Queens County 11423. or; call (212) 481-7745.  Together we can get the justice everyone just talks about. 

“Speaking Truth To Empower.”


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