Bernard Kerik: Disgraced and Jailed, Now He Needs Shrink

Former 'America's Police Commissioner" Languishes While Awaiting Trial

October 30, 2009, 4:10 PM

Oct. 20, 2009 — -- Former police commissioner Bernard Kerik is now under psychiatric care at the Westchester County Jail where he awaits his federal trial on corruption charges.

Federal Judge Stephan Robinson said at a pre-trial conference in White Plains, NY today that he received a memo from the jail's psychiatric director expressing a "level of concern" described as "not ordinary."

After the hearing, Kerik's defense team refused to answer questions as to whether Kerik had been placed on suicide watch. But sources close to Kerik described him as "depressed" and "in a funk," but not suicidal.

Robinson revoked Kerik's bail on Oct. 20, citing evidence that Kerik had violated a court order by releasing sealed materials that he felt may have been exculpatory to the man who headed the Bernard Kerik Legal Defense Fund, and that information was shared with members of the media. At the time that he revoked the $500,000 bail, Robinson seared Kerik, describing him as a "toxic combination of self-minded focus and arrogance."

A former New York City Police Commissioner, Kerik, 54, was dubbed "America's Police Commissioner" in the aftermath of September 11 and was nominated by President George Bush as head of Homeland Security. His fall from grace began the evening of his nomination, as newspapers and television networks began digging into the terms of employment of his nanny, a probe that soon widened.

Federal prosecutors now charge that he provided false information to the White House while under consideration for that post.

"He sees the court's rulings as an inconvenience, something to be ignored, and an obstacle to be circumvented," Robinson said. He noted that this was not the first time Kerik had sought to circumvent the court in an effort to generate sympathy.

This time Kerik sent his information to Anthony K. Modafferi III, a lawyer who is not part of the defense team who e-mailed material to The Washington Times. The judge did not reveal the nature of the information, which remains under seal. The newspaper did not publish it.

Kerik Allegedly Cut Deals To His Benefit

Prosecutors have alleged that Kerik, while New York City Correction Commissioner - a post he held prior to his appointment as Police Commissioner by Rudolph Giuliani - allowed a construction company to pay for renovations to his Bronx apartment in the hope that he would help the company obtain a city license.

Kerik faces numerous other federal charges, and two additional federal indictments following the current trial, which is now slated to begin jury selection on Nov. 9. He has pleaded not guilty to the federal charges arrayed against him. In 2006, he pleaded guilty in state court to two misdemeanors renovation.

On Wednesday, Kerik's attorney's appealed the bail revocation before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan. The motion for relief was denied. During the hearing, Judge Reena Raggi repeated criticized Kerik's counsel for delivering the voluminous information related to the motion in dribs and drabs and late in the evening before the hearing.

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