The man who was New York City’s Police Commissioner on September 11, 2001, who, along with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, came to symbolize that city’s resolve in the aftermath of the deadliest terrorist attack in history, reported to the Cumberland Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland today to begin serving a four-year prison sentence.
For awhile there, Bernard Kerik seemed like a real-life Commissioner Gordon. (And the fact that I cannot resist making that comparison tells you something about me, does it not?) Like his boss, Rudy Giuliani, Kerik was a figure of strength in a time of grief and confusion. He wore a mean mustache, too, I’ll tell you what.
Kerik’s star began to fall in 2004, when President George W. Bush nominated him to replace Tom Ridge as Secretary of Homeland Security. As Kerik was vetted for the post, it was discovered he had lied about his finances and business associations. Lying to the White House, as it turns out, is a big no-no.
This past November, Kerik plead guilty to eight felony counts, including charges of tax fraud, and was sentenced to four years by United States District Court Judge Stephen Robinson, who asserted that Kerik had exploited his exposure following 9/11 for personal gain.
Despite pleading guilty, Kerik maintains his innocence. In an article posted to his personal blog yesterday, he claims pleading guilty was a necessity, as he was “financially helpless” and unable to fight the charges. Kerik calls his sentence a “gross injustice,” and says he’s disappointed in the judge and federal prosecutors. I’ll bet.
He also reflects on his troubles, somehow managing to not sound like an entitled, self-pitying, whiny little bitch with a stupid mustache that I never liked in the first place. Except for this part:
In my life, I have been confronted with extraordinary challenges, from the age of three when I was abandoned by my own mother who was later murdered, to gun battles on the streets of New York City, through the aftermath of 9/11, to my work rebuilding a shattered Iraq, these are the principles by which I have lived.
My friends say that because I have persevered in the face of great challenge, I became a convenient target of personal and political attacks, most of which were waged by people that have never met me and know nothing about me other than the media headlines that they have read. As I have listened to my critics, I have often wondered, how they would have fared under the same circumstances and the same scrutiny.
No wonder this guy got along so well with Rudy Giuliani.
Read the New York Times story about Kerik here.