October 20, 2009 / 9:29 PM / 10 years ago

Former NYC police chief Kerik jailed before trial

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik was jailed on Tuesday when a federal judge revoked his bail a week before his trial on conspiracy and fraud charges was due to begin.

The judge agreed to a request to jail Kerik for leaking sealed information to a legal defense fund-raiser — information the fund-raiser shared with the Washington Times newspaper.

Kerik was a close friend of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was New York’s police commissioner the day of the September 11, 2001, attacks. His career began to unravel upon being subjected to background checks when President George W. Bush nominated him in 2004 to become Homeland Security secretary.

Kerik withdrew from that nomination and his legal troubles became an embarrassment for Giuliani during the former mayor’s unsuccessful run in 2007 and early 2008 for the Republican presidential nomination.

Kerik could become a campaign issue again next year should Giuliani decide to run for governor of New York state.

Kerik had been allowed to remain free under a $500,000 bail package after he pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and fraud charges in November 2007.

But a federal judge granted prosecutors’ request on Tuesday to revoke bail because of new accusations of criminal contempt for disclosing nonpublic case information, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in White Plains, New York, said.

Kerik is accused of receiving apartment renovations from a construction firm that had been suspected of organized crime ties in exchange for helping the company win city contracts, according to his indictment.

Kerik tried to convince city regulators the contractors were free of mob ties and should be approved to do business requiring city permits, the indictment alleges.

Kerik and Giuliani were acclaimed nationally for their handling of the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.

While preparing for his hearings to run Homeland Security, Kerik said he had uncovered information questioning the legal immigration status of a former housekeeper and nanny.

Kerik faces other charges — including other fraud and tax charges as well as lying to White House officials during their background checks on him — that will be prosecuted separately at a later date.

Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Daniel Trotta and Philip Barbara

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