The man who used to run the city's jails spent a lonely evening behind bars last night – and it doesn't look like he's going to be getting any company in his cell.
Bernard Kerik became the first former NYPD commissioner to end up in jail when a judge revoked his bail Tuesday for allegedly attempting to taint the jury pool in his upcoming corruption trial. He refused to ask to be isolated from the general prison population, but given his history in law enforcement, jail officials separated him anyway.
Kerik, a one-time national Sept. 11 hero and nominee for Homeland Security, now lives in a single-bed cell, which visitors described as not much more than a putrid-smelling closet with an open toilet, according to the Daily News.
Unlike most of 1,500 jailbirds in facility, he's confined to a wing reserved for cops, judges and other inmates against whom some members of the general population may have a vendetta for one reason or another. And he doesn't have a roommate.
Kerik did get a few visitors yesterday; his son stopped by for two hours in the morning, as did a Newark SWAT-team member and an unidentified older man, reports The New York Post. They didn't comment on Kerik or his surroundings, but others familiar with the jail say the conditions leave much to be desired.
"People here live like animals," Deidre Walters, whose boyfriend has been an inmate at the jail for three years, told the News. "When you're in their world, you throw your dignity out the window. You just try to make it to the next day."
Other than the isolation, which officials say is for his own safety, Kerik is being treated like any other inmate. He was issued a standard orange jumpsuit and follows the jail schedule. Wake up for breakfast is at 6:45 a.m., followed by a recreation hour at 11 a.m. and bedtime at 10:45 p.m., reports the Post. Last night's dinner was meat loaf, corn and sliced potato skins, according to the paper.
As Kerik spent his first full day in Westchester County Jail, his lawyers were working on an appeal of the decision to revoke his bond.
Barry Berke, one of Kerik's defense attorneys, said the appeal would be made in "short order" but declined to describe the arguments it would present, according to The New York Times. Other lawyers, however, told the paper the defense's argument might include mention of the harsh criticism the judge bestowed upon Kerik in court Tuesday.
An infuriated Judge Stephen Robinson jailed Kerik, 54, after prosecutors said the former top cop violated a court order not to disclose confidential information about the case to anyone outside his legal team.
The issue that sparked the judge's at times angry discourse 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, Robinson repeatedly excoriated Kerik, calling him "arrogant" and his explanations "absurd" "ridiculous" "a sham" and "nonsense."
Kerik had been free on a $500,000 bond and slated to stand trial next week on charges of accepting apartment renovations from a mob-connected contractor in exchange for recommending the company for city contracts. Jury selection is supposed to begin Monday.
"I am revoking Mr. Kerik's bail. My fear however, is that he has a toxic combination of self-minded focus and arrogance," Robinson said. "And I fear this combination leads him to believe his ends justify the means."
Meanwhile, new court papers reveal Kerik made a desperate plea for executive clemency during the final days of the George W. Bush administration after he was indicted on corruption charges, reports the News. That effort was one component of Kerik's tenacious campaign to refute criminal charges by all means, including via social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.