Ex-NYPD Chief Makes Tearful Guilty Plea

Bernard Kerik faces up to two and a half years in prison.

Nov. 5, 2009 — -- The former New York City Police Commissioner and one-time nominee for Secretary of Homeland Security, Bernard Kerik, pleaded guilty today to eight felony counts related to actions that included lying to the White House and failing to report income and loans.

Kerik, 53, appeared contrite and spoke softly as he replied to federal judge Stephen Robinson's questions.

As the judge assured Kerik he would take into account not only the crimes, but the whole of Kerik's life, tears began to roll down the former commissioner's cheeks. This prompted Robinson, who has been harshly critical of Kerik's past actions, to say "I think it's all a very sad day."

Robinson noted that Kerik has had a very full life and "there is much good in that full life." And these were factors he would consider in sentencing, which is set for Feb 18th.

Following the hearing, Kerik returned to jail. But his lawyers said they would ask he be freed on bail prior to sentencing, and the judge said he would be receptive to that.

The charges to which he pled could have carried a maximum of 61 years in prison.

The plea agreement asks for a sentence of between 27 and 33 months.

With regard to Bernard Kerik's plea, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for the Southern District of New York said, "...Anytime a former commissioner of police of the City of New York has to plead guilty to eight federal felonies is a sad day, but no one is above the law and we prosecute anyone, no matter who they are."

Kerik had been recommended to President George W. Bush for the Homeland Security job by former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who turned down the job himself. Kerik had served under Giuliani.

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