WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to the White House and said he would also admit to tax crimes.
The plea bargain, which included an anticipated eight charges, included the prosecution's suggestion that the crimes are punishable by 27 to 33 months in prison. It was designed to resolve three pending federal criminal trials.
Kerik, who was police commissioner when New York was attacked on 9/11, won glowing reviews for his leadership. He eventually was nominated for the Homeland Security post in 2004 but withdrew as corruption allegations mounted. The lies to the White House occurred during that vetting process.
The first of his trials had been scheduled to start Monday in White Plains.
Before he began formally entering his pleas, Kerik told Judge Stephen Robinson that, in addition to the White House lies, he would admit to counts that included cheating the IRS, helping to prepare false tax returns and making other false statements to the federal government.
Robinson warned Kerik that the maximum sentence for the counts to which he was pleading was 61 years in prison; the judge said he was not bound by the terms of the plea agreement.
Kerik said he understood and told the judge he was giving up his right to appeal.
Kerik denied to the White House that he'd had any financial dealings with firms trying to do business with the city. The tax charges included hiding income from his returns and illegally claiming charitable deductions.
In the agreement, he promised to file amended tax returns for 1999, 2003 and 2005.