Trump pardons Bernard Kerik

Bernard Kerik at CPAC in 2014.
Bernard Kerik at CPAC in 2014.
Gage Skidmore/Flickr
Bernard Kerik at CPAC in 2014.

Trump pardons Bernard Kerik

The former New York City police commissioner had pleaded guilty to felony tax fraud charges in 2009.
February 18, 2020

President Donald Trump pardoned former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik on Tuesday afternoon, along with financier Michael Milken. He also commuted the prison sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Kerik confirmed on Twitter that the president had pardoned him.

In 2009, Kerik pleaded guilty to felony tax fraud charges and lying to White House officials. 

It was discovered that Kerik accepted $250,000 worth of renovations to his apartment in 2004 by a company with possible Mafia connections and lied about the costs. He also lied to White House officials about his past misconduct while interviewing to become head of the Department of Homeland Security. In 2010, Kerik was sentenced to 48 months in prison but was released in 2013. 

“I think it’s long overdue,” Timothy Parlatore, Kerik’s lawyer, told CNBC, adding, “It’s something that I’ve been fighting for for several years.”

Kerik was once extremely close with the president’s personal attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani – Kerik even made Giuliani his daughter’s godfather. In 1993, the pair first met and hit it off when Kerik operated as Giuliani’s driver and bodyguard during his 1993 mayoral campaign, according to the book "Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11" by Wayne Barrett and Dan Collins. 

"The two hit it off, and Kerik did more than just watch the candidate's back himself,” Barrett and Collins wrote. “He recruited an entire team of cops to guard him for nothing. After the election, the new mayor appointed Kerik to a join in the Corrections Department, then to corrections commissioner, and then to head of the Police Department in 2000. After 16 months, he left office with Giuliani and joined the new firm (Giuliani Partners, a consulting agency led by Rudy)."

It’s possible that Kerik’s close ties to the president’s attorney may have helped sway Trump’s decision to pardon him, though nothing has reported to suggest that is the case at this time.

Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
is City & State's web reporter and social media editor.
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