Former NYC police commissioner and Rudy Giuliani crony Bernie Kerik today pleaded guilty to lying during his vetting to become George W. Bush’s Secretary of Homeland Security. It was the first of eight expected pleas, in exchange for which prosecutors will suggest 27 to 33 months in prison, the AP reports.
The pleas by Kerik, who has been in prison since Oct. 20 when a judge revoked his bail for giving out sealed information, are designed to resolve three separate criminal cases.
In the White House case, Kerik was accused of falsely denying to Bush vetters that he had an improper relationship with city contractors who performed pricey renovations on Kerik’s Bronx apartment.
Prosecutors allege in a separate case that Kerik accepted the free renovations as part of a quid pro quo with the contractors, who were seeking a city license. That case was set to go to trial next week.
In a third case, Kerik is accused of tax evasion. The AP reports that Kerik said he would also plead guilty to tax crimes and describes an exchange with the judge:
Before he began formally entering his pleas, Kerik told Judge Stephen Robinson that, in addition to the White House lies, he would admit to counts that included cheating the IRS, helping to prepare false tax returns and making other false statements to the federal government.
Robinson warned Kerik that the maximum sentence for the counts to which he was pleading was 61 years in prison; the judge said he was not bound by the terms of the plea agreement.
Kerik said he understood and told the judge he was giving up his right to appeal.
TPMmuckraker’s full coverage of Kerik, going back to 2006, is here.
Late Update: Kerik has now plead guilty to eight counts: five of making false statements to the government, two of tax fraud, and one of making a false statement on a loan application. Sentencing is set for February.