Bernard Kerik Back in Jail for Putting Confidential Info Online

Former commissioner on trial for conspiracy

Image of Bernard Kerik from Wikimedia.

Image of Bernard Kerik from Wikimedia.

Bernard Kerik knows that committing tax fraud is a no-no. He made that clear in 2004, when he withdrew his name from consideration for Secretary of Homeland Security. At that time, Bernard Kerik admitted that he had committed tax fraud.

Bernard Kerik had employed an illegal immigrant to work for him as a nanny. Although he had failed to pay taxes on his employee, Kerik said he didn’t know the worker was undocumented. This was only the beginning of his legal troubles. He apparently didn’t know, or didn’t care, that confidential information must remain confidential when one is being investigated for conspiracy, fraud and possible mob connections. But let’s back up.

More charges flood in

Shortly after Bernard Kerik withdrew his name from the running for Secretary of Homeland Security, investigations began regarding ethics violations, unclassified misdemeanors. He pleaded guilty to those and paid a $221,000 fine.The court said “pay the money now, and you’ll be free,” so he did.

But it wasn’t over. Near the end of 2007, Bernard Kerik was indicted by a grand jury. His charges include conspiracy, tax fraud and making false statements. That brings us to the present, where Bernard Kerik was out on bail and waiting for his trial, which begins Monday.

Breaking the rules

Just a quick primer on the justice system: When someone gets arrested on charges, they get thrown in jail and have the opportunity to post bail. If the accused pays the bail money, they can be let out of jail until they get their sentence, which happens after the trial. However, people who are out on bail generally must agree to certain conditions in order to remain out of jail.

In major cases such as Bernard Kerik’s, it’s imperative that the accused does not share sensitive information about the case with the public. So although Bernard Kerik posted his $500,000 bail, he violated the conditions of his release when he posted confidential documents on his defense web site, according to USA Today. The judge ruled that this action could potentially sway jurors and that Bernard Kerik could not be trusted to honor the terms of his release, so he was hauled back to the slammer.

Who cares about Bernard Kerik?

So why is everyone so interested in this Bernard Kerik fellow? He was police commissioner in New York City during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center. He was seen often on television with Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Giuliani recommended him for Security of Homeland Security.

Bernard Kerik also served as Interim Minister of Interior of Iraq for a few months in 2003, just after the start of the Iraq War.

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