November 7, 2007 | 2:09 pm
Posted by Brad A. Greenberg
As if it wasn’t bad enough that Rudy Giuliani’s personal priest was accused of pedophilia, now the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination can expect his former business partner and close adviser, Bernard B. Kerik, to be indicted for tax fraud, corruption and conspiracy.
The grand jury, sitting in Westchester, has been hearing evidence about Mr. Kerik for more than a year as part of a broad federal investigation into a variety of allegations, including his acceptance of $165,000 in renovations from a contractor who was seeking a city license.
If an indictment is voted up, as prosecutors are expected to request, it would remain sealed until Friday, when Mr. Kerik would be arraigned in United States District Court in White Plains.
Mr. Kerik served under former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, and questions about the former police commissioner and correction commissioner have been troublesome for Mr. Giulianiâs presidential campaign. There have been concerns about lapses in the vetting of his background when Mr. Kerik was named police commissioner.
And don’t forget when Giuliani got President Bush to nominate Kerik for head of Homeland Security. Michael Wolff at Vanity Fair thinks Giuliani’s relationship with Kerik says a lot about his attitude toward accountability.
And Bernie Kerik. There is no circumstance under which a politician with any sense of vulnerability or accountability or merely the need to maintain a sense of appearances hires Bernie Kerik (no less as the police commissioner). Kerik is from Paterson, New Jersey, where I’m from. He came to live in a house in the suburb just down the road from where my parents lived. I knew or had heard the same stories everyone elseâmy parents and my parents’ friendsâhad heard. Which it seems impossible Rudy would not have heard, too. And if, somehow, he hadn’t heard them, we know now from Rudy’s own grand-jury testimony that he was, in fact, officially toldâthough, he says, it didn’t quite register. In other words, one of the most experienced prosecutors of organized-crime figures has spelled out for him what is widely rumoredâthat his corrections chief and prospective police commissioner might be Mobbed upâand he doesn’t get it. Yup. And then goes on to become business partners with the guy. And then becomes his sponsor for high federal office.
Let’s not even get into the nature of Rudy’s tolerance for whatever Kerik was into, and just focus on Rudy’s sense of impunityâhe’s got no sense of caution. (A likely implosion point for the Rudy campaign is Kerik’s anticipated trial for tax fraud and providing false information to federal authorities when he was vetted for the job of homeland-security chief, which Rudy sponsored him for.) It’s about getting away with it. It’s waving the red flag. It’s his assumption that everybody is a pantywaist, except him.
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