Kerik's Behavior in Lockdown Has Prison Shrinks Concerned

The behavior of the former NYPD top cop has officials worried

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    **CORRECTS TO KERIK NOT KERICK IN FIRST SENTENCE** In this undated photo released Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2009 by the Westchester County Executive's Office, Bernard Kerik is shown. An angry federal judge sent former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik to jail Tuesday for sharing secret pretrial information with a "propagandist" who Kerik claimed was really his lawyer. Kerik will be forced to await his upcoming corruption trial behind bars. Judge Stephen Robinson found probable cause to believe he was in contempt of court and revoked his $500,000 bail. (AP Photo/Westchester County Executive's Office)

    Bernard Kerik's behavior in the slammer has prison shrinks worried about the former New York police commissioner's mental state, it was revealed in a White Plains courtroom today.

    Specifics about the disgraced former top cop's behavior were not revealed, but a memo to Federal Judge Stephen Robinson from the medical and psychiatry director of the Westchester County jail detailed concern "that was not ordinary," according to the judge.

    Judge Robinson said Dr. Mahler told him there "were symptoms he (Kerik)  displayed, that when combined with his circumstances that they thought placed him at risk."
      
    "There were things unexplained described to me that were either said or done that raised a level of concern for them," said Robinson.

    Robinson cautioned that the concerns could be overstated, but ordered them explored at a hearing on Monday. In scheduling the hearing, the judge raised the possibility that Kerik might have to waive his confidentiality rights so that the matter could be discussed in court.

    Kerik, who is awaiting trial on corruption charges, was jailed last week after Robinson revoked his bail for allegedly trying to taint the jury pool by sharing secret pretrial information with a supporter. He is being held in isolation in the federal wing of the Westchester County Jail, according to defense attorney Barry Berke. Because of stress, Kerik recently agreed to be housed in a certain unit of the jail, Berke said. Kerik is not taking any medication, his defense attorney said.

    After court, Berke and the other attorneys would not say whether Kerik is on suicide watch or specify which unit of the jail he is now residing in.

    Kerik arrived in court today without a tie, wearing a wrinkled pinstripe suit. He repeatedly shook his head in disgust when the judge raised the possibility of pushing back the Nov. 9 trial date.

    "I understand," Kerik said when the judge reassured him that he was simply trying to keep the trial fair.

    The judge also laid out other issues complicating the trial including a possible conflict of interest involving his high-priced defense lawyers from the firm of Kramer Levin. 

    Kerik is the first former NYPD commissioner to end up in jail. Though he resisted being isolated from the general prison population, jail officials separated him anyway because of his law enforcement background.

    He is accused of accepting renovations to his co-op in exchange for recommending a company that sought business with New York City. He has pleaded not guilty.