Former undercover New York police detective Bernard Kerik has led a life of major ups and downs. According to his autobiography, Kerik’s mother was murdered, possibly by her pimp, when he was 9. After his Army discharge, Kerik worked security detail in Saudi Arabia until a snag with the Saudi secret police got him fired and deported. Kerik eventually found his way to the New York Police Department, which, during the 1993 mayoral election, detailed him to be Rudolph Giuliani’s bodyguard. The two became close friends, and Kerik, a high-school dropout, climbed the ranks to head the corrections department and eventually to become New York City police commissioner.
Kerik was police commissioner on Sept. 11, 2001 and some of the international acclaim for Giuliani’s leadership in that crisis found its way to Kerik, too. In 2002, Queen Elizabeth knighted the former mayor and gave Kerik the honorary title of Commander of the Most Excellent Royal Order of the British Empire. Over the next two years, President Bush sent Kerik to Iraq to create a police force; gave Kerik a speaking role at the Republican National Convention; and, at Giuliani’s urging, nominated Kerik for secretary of homeland security.
A week later, Kerik’s meteoric rise ended abruptly. Forced to withdraw as a candidate because he’d employed an undocumented worker (awkward because Kerik would have supervised the immigration service), Kerik was soon tarred by additional allegations ranging from assigning city employees to perform research for his memoir, to hosting trysts with his HarperCollins publisher, Judith Regan, in a Lower Manhattan apartment originally set up for 9/11 rescue workers. Last week, the once-high-flying public official hit bottom when he was indicted for tax evasion and other crimes. Excerpts of the 29-page indictment are below and on the following six pages.
Kerik is accused of accepting money and other things of value, including renovations on an apartment in the Riverdale section of the Bronx (Page 3), in exchange for using his public post to persuade regulators that a construction and waste-management company “had rid itself of Mob ties” (Page 3). Kerik allegedly concealed from the Internal Revenue Service more than $500,000 in income (Page 6), including $75,000 he received for writing the forward to a book (Page 7). Kerik has pleaded not guilty, and Giuliani continues to defend him.
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