Bernie Kerik’s Tumble

Photo: Manuel Balce/AP

Bernard Kerik used to run the city jails (1998–2000) and then the whole NYPD (2000–2001) and then, almost, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. But last week, he went to jail himself for leaking sealed information from his corruption trial, which begins this week. His fall has been drawn-out, and very public.

9/11/01: As police commissioner, Kerik shares the credit with his boss Mayor Giuliani for resolute action on the day of the attacks. The two team up the next year to help form Giuliani Partners, a consulting firm.

2/28/02: Kerik pays a $2,500 fine for having two police officers travel to Ohio to research his autobiography, The Lost Son.

3/16/02: Newsday reports that an aide requested 30 seven-pound busts of Kerik from the nonprofit Police Foundation at a cost of $3,000.

2/9/03: The Daily News reports that Kerik oversaw a prison foundation that received nearly $1 million from tobacco companies that sold cigarettes to inmates; the Kerik aide in charge of the foundation’s finances later pleaded guilty to defrauding the fund of $142,733, partly to pay phone bills accrued when inmates called him collect to have phone sex. Much of the rest of the money is unaccounted for.

12/2/04: Kerik, apparently with Giuliani’s backing, is President Bush’s reported choice to run Homeland Security.

12/8/04: Nine former employees allege in the Washington Post that Kerik illicitly spied on women in relationships with his supervisor as investigation chief at a Saudi hospital twenty years earlier.

12/10/04: Kerik withdraws his nomination, citing a nanny with questionable immigration status. Newsweek reports that a warrant for Kerik’s arrest was issued in 1998 during a New Jersey civil dispute over $5,000 in condominium fees. Kerik said he’d paid the fees and the warrant had been withdrawn.

12/12/04: The Daily News reports that Kerik failed to disclose thousands of dollars in gifts, including a jewel-covered Tiffany badge, when he headed the NYPD and Correction Department. Some were given to him by a friend with ties to Interstate Industrial Corporation, a construction company suspected of mob ties that happens to have hired Kerik’s best man and brother; Kerik spoke to the city’s Trade Waste Commission on the friend’s behalf while Correction commissioner.

12/13/04: The Daily News reveals that Kerik had an extramarital affair with The Lost Son publisher Judith Regan, using a Battery Park City apartment—originally provided to ground-zero cleanup workers—for “passionate liaisons.”

12/16/04: The Bronx D.A. begins looking into the 1999 renovation of Kerik’s Riverdale apartment by Interstate.

12/22/04: Kerik quits Giuliani Partners.

6/30/06: Kerik pleads guilty to two misdemeanors, admitting he accepted the renovations from Interstate, spoke to city officials about the company, and failed to report a $28,000 loan from a real-estate developer. He pays $221,000 in fines but serves no jail time.

9/27/06: News of a new federal investigation involving Kerik emerges, this time about his alleged role in a 2005 plan to secretly record the husband of attorney-general candidate Jeanine Pirro, whom Pirro suspected of having an affair.

10/22/07: A Houston law firm sues Kerik for more than $200,000 in unpaid legal fees.

11/9/07: Kerik is indicted on sixteen federal counts that lead to two separate trials, one for tax fraud and one for corruption; he pleads not guilty.

12/2/08: The indictment against Kerik is expanded and now includes failure to pay taxes on a free luxury sedan given to him in 2004 by an armored-car company. He pleads not guilty to the new charges.

4/7/09: Kerik is seen training a dog in the background of a Real Housewives of New Jersey scene.

5/26/09: Kerik is indicted again, this time in Washington for making false statements to White House vetters; he pleads not guilty.

10/20/09: Kerik is jailed by the judge in his New York corruption trial, who believes he helped leak e-mails containing information from sealed court papers to the Washington Times.

Bernie Kerik’s Tumble