Judge Revokes Kerik's Bail, Sends Former Commish to Jail

By Alice McQuillan and Hasani Gittens
|  Tuesday, Oct 20, 2009  |  Updated 7:14 PM EDT
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Judge Revokes Kerik's Bail, Sends Former Commish to Jail

AP

Bernard Kerik saw his bail revoked today.

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The former Police Commissioner of the City of New York is now himself an inmate.

A federal judge in Westchester today revoked the $500,000 bail for Bernard Kerik, blasting him in a more than three hour hearing, saying "I can't trust Mr. Kerik."  Judge Stephen Robinson found Kerik had violated a court order not to disclose confidential information about the case to anyone outside his legal team.

Prosecutor Perry Carbone, in asking to have Kerik remanded to jail, said the former top cop was guilty of a "clear violation of the court's order" and brought up "his prior pattern of deceit with this court."

Kerik, 54, removed his tie and belt then shook his lawyers hands before being escorted away by the marshals.

The issue that sparked the judge's at times angry discourse today was the discovery that a New Jersey man, Anthony Modafferi, had allegedly given confidential information about the case to the Washington Times. The judge also found that Modafferi, who was working as a trustee for Kerik's legal defense fund, was blogging about the case and writing articles that violated the court's order.

The judge did not buy Kerik's claim that Modafferi had been officially hired as a defense lawyer and thus would have access to confidential information.

In Tuesday's three and a half hour hearing, Judge Robinson repeatedly excoriated Kerik, calling him "arrogant" and his explanations "absurd" "ridiculous" "a sham" and "nonsense."

"I am revoking Mr. Kerik's bail. My fear however, is that he has a toxic combination of self-minded focus and arrogance," said the judge. "And I fear this combination leads him to believe his ends justify the means." 

Defense attorney Michael Bachner vowed to appeal. Judge Robinson turned down his request for a 48 hour stay and ordered Kerik jailed immediately. 

"This was not willful conduct by Mr Kerik to circumvent an order of the court," Bachner said.

Judge Robinson cautioned that his ruling has no bearing on whether Kerik is guilty or innocent of the federal conspiracy and bribery charges.

But the judge said  he feared that Kerik, “through friends, directly or indirectly, will launch a campaign to further discredit the government, to raise funds, and further taint the jury pool."

Judge Robinson said he was extremely disturbed because last year he had discovered that Kerik had an underground attorney who had been improperly speaking to witnesses.  In closed door hearings at the time, the judge had admonished the defense that if he discovered anything like that happening again he would send Kerik to jail.
 
Kerik is accused of accepting apartment renovations from a construction company in exchange for recommending the company for city contracts. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Jury selection in the trial is scheduled to begin Monday.

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