Ex-NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik Leaves Prison, Returns to NJ

Bernard Kerik served as commissioner under Mayor Rudy Giuliani

Former NYPD commissioner Bernard Kerik was released from federal prison Tuesday and returned to his New Jersey home after three years in lockup.

Kerik, a one-time nominee to be the nation's homeland security chief, left the Maryland facility in the morning and arrived home in the early afternoon, hugging relatives as he walked in.

He is planning to spend his first day back at his Franklin Lakes home sharing a meal with his 20 guests, according to a friend catering the event.

"He put a request in for some food that he's been missing for a few years," said Albert Manzo, who runs Brownstone catering in Paterson, where the chocolate fountain and gourmet desserts have been New Jersey staples for decades.

"He loves our short ribs, shrimp scampi -- a lot of things he doesn't have access to there," added Manzo, whose family is featured in the reality show "Real Housewives of New Jersey."

Kerik lost access to those luxuries when he pleaded guilty to multiple counts of corruption, including tax fraud and lying to the government. 

Hailed as a hero for leading the NYPD during the 9/11 attacks, Kerik fell from grace when he became the first New York City police commissioner ever imprisoned on federal crimes. His legal problems clouded the political fortunes of other elected officials, especially that of his mentor, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

The two had met when Kerik volunteered to chauffeur Giuliani and provide security during his first unsuccessful race for mayor. Once elected in 1993, Giuliani promoted Kerik, a high school dropout, to the highest levels of city government.

The mayor eventually tapped his former bodyguard as the city's 40th police commissioner in 2001 despite his attaining only the lowest rank for a detective and failing to earn a college degree -- a requirement for officers above the rank of sergeant. During his failed presidential bid in 2008, Giuliani had to admit that he erred in recommending Kerik to President Bush.

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