Yet another intriguing chapter in the life of former police commissioner Bernard Kerik: WNBC reports that he rejected a plea deal from the feds. The deal would have allowed Kerik to plead guilty to tax fraud and illegal eavesdropping - plus serve jail time - and in return, the feds would have dropped their criminal probe. And the probe includes quite a laundry list: "allegations of mortgage fraud, tax fraud, conspiracy to eavesdrop and making false statements on his application to become U.S. Homeland Security Secretary."
But Kerik's lawyer said, "We rejected the plea deal because Mr. Kerik paid his taxes and did nothing wrong." Or did he? From WNBC:
NewsChannel 4 has learned as part of the investigation, officials want to know if Kerik received use of a midtown Manhattan apartment from a prominent real estate developer without ever having claimed use of that apartment on any tax or disclosure forms.
Allegations that Kerik may have been given use of a midtown apartment come after the former police commissioner was criticized for allegedly using a "ground zero" apartment for personal affairs after the 9-11 attacks.
As for other charges, the eavesdropping investigation seems to be about surveillance Kerik might have done for friend Jeannine Pirro, who wanted to see if her husband was cheating on her. And last year, Kerik pleaded guilty to accepting $200,000 worth of home renovations (and paying only $17,000) - and the Tombs downtown were de-Keriked. Of course, the Homeland Security job nod was quashed by hiring an undocumented worker as a nanny. Next decision for the feds: Whether they'll file criminal charges.
Will Kerik's problems tarnish Giuliani's shiny reputation? A Giuliani aide tells WNBC's Jonathan Dienst, "As Mayor Giuliani recently said, it was a mistake to recommend Bernie Kerik, and he took responsibility for it." Kerik resigned from Giuliani and Partners in 2004, later cried in New York magazine and claimed he and Rudy cried together when he turned in his resignation letter.