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Friday, November 09, 2007

It should be more than a distraction
Posted by Jill | 6:11 AM
The indictment of Bernie Kerik ought to be more than just a temporary distraction for the Giuliani campaign:

The grand jury voted to indict Mr. Kerik on conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, and substantive counts of wire and mail fraud, under a statute often used in corruption cases, according to people briefed on the vote. The panel also voted to charge him with lying on a mortgage application and his homeland security application and with several counts of tax fraud.

This isn't just a long-term friend; someone whose plane he uses. This is someone who was practically attached to Giuliani at the hip. This is a known thug that Giuliani recommended to head up the Department of Homeland Security:

Mr. Kerik's rise from a harsh upbringing to likely Cabinet nominee has much to do with his powerful patron, Mr. Giuliani, whom he first served as a bodyguard. Along the way, Mr. Kerik has developed a reputation as a tough-talking, sometimes coarse law enforcer who rarely stands on ceremony. He is known as a relentless boss who likes to shake up the status quo and toss out subordinates he considers slackers.

When Mr. Kerik was appointed to a top job in the New York City Department of Correction in the mid-1990's, one official told the department's commissioner: "Congratulations. You've just hired Rambo."


Mr. Kerik, who declared bankruptcy as a young police officer, also could face questions about how he made millions of dollars since leaving city government, mainly through his partnership in a consulting firm led by Mr. Giuliani. Most recently, he sold $5.8 million of stock in a company that makes stun guns used by many police forces.

As police commissioner, he had less than friendly relations with the F.B.I., and occasionally was criticized for his use of power. In writing his memoirs, which touched on 9/11 and detailed his abandonment by his mother, who was a prostitute, he used police officers to conduct research, a move that earned him a $2,500 fine from the city's Conflicts of Interest Board. He was also once accused of dispatching homicide investigators to question and fingerprint several Fox News employees whom his publisher, Judith Regan, apparently suspected of stealing her cellphone and necklace.

In 2002, after Mr. Giuliani's term as mayor ended, Mr. Kerik joined him in forming Giuliani Partners, a business consulting firm.

Part of Mr. Kerik's job was as one of the firm's very public faces, speaking at events around the United States on topics ranging from how real estate executives can better protect their office buildings to disaster readiness tips for local government officials in suburban New York.

In the presentations, Mr. Kerik typically focused on New York City's response to the terrorist attack, or on its efforts to reduce crime. But his appearances were often sponsored by companies that were selling just the kinds of products that the former police commissioner was indirectly promoting, like Nextel, the cellular phone company that many police and fire departments use.

This is a guy who used an apartment meant for Ground Zero workers to fuck Judith Regan, the sleazemonger who later went on to acquire O.J. Simpson's confessional book.

And this isn't just someone in Giuliani's social circle, or a fundraiser. This is a close personal friend and business partner. There is no way that Giuliani didn't know what he was getting when he recommended this thug for an important national security position. And there is no way we can have confidence that his judgment is any better today, especially if you look at the fact that neocon lunatics like Norman Podhoretz are integral parts of his campaign and policy apparatus.
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