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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Former New York Police Commissioner And President Bush's Nominee For Homeland Security Chief, Bernard "Bernie" Kerik, Has Been Indicted By The Feds.

Read more here, or excerpts below:

Former NYPD Commish Kerik Indicted
Accused Of Making False Statements To White House Officials During Vetting For Homeland Security Position
Attorney Blasts DOJ's "Overzealous Pursuit" Of Public Figures
Similar False Statement Charges Already Dismissed In NYC

CBS 2 HD has learned that former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington on charges of making false statements to White House officials during his vetting for the position of Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The new indictment was handed up Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Washington, and means Kerik will face trials in New York and Washington, D.C.

Similar false statement charges were brought as part of the larger case in New York but were dismissed and transferred to Washington, where the crimes allegedly occurred.

According to the new indictment, Kerik, in 1999 and 2000 when he was NYPD commissioner, spoke to city regulators on behalf of contractors who were seeking one or more permits to do business in and with the city.

The contractors then spent more than $255,000 renovating Kerik's apartment in Riverdale. In 2004, when Kerik was under consideration by the White House for the Homeland Security position, he gave false and misleading answers to questions by White House officials about his relationship with the contractors.

The indictment alleges that Kerik falsely denied that there was any possible concern the president should have about his relationship with the contractors, and that as a public official he had had any financial dealings with individuals seeking to do business with the City.

It also alleges Kerik sent an e-mail to a White House official containing false and misleading statements concerning the renovations to the apartment in Riverdale.

Kerik's attorney, Barry H. Berke, released a statement to CBS 2 HD which reads:

"Today's indictment of Mr. Kerik -- the third separate prosecution against him arising out of the same purported corruption allegations from 10 years ago -- is the latest example of the Department of Justice's overzealous pursuit of high-profile public figures.

"Mr. Kerik looks forward to finally clearing his name of these corruption charges at his federal trial in New York set for October. The Justice Department's own rules mandate that 'the government bring as few charges as are necessary to ensure that justice is done.' The government has instead decided to take a third bite at the apple in Washington, apparently not confident in its ability to win the case in New York, which includes virtually identical charges.

"However many trials it takes, Mr. Kerik will vigorously defend himself against these unfounded accusations and is confident that he will be completely vindicated."

If convicted Kerik could face up to five years in prison.

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