NEW YORK – Former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury investigating him for corruption and tax evasion during his years as a close adviser to Rudy Giuliani and for lying on an application to serve as President Bush’s director of homeland security, according to a Justice Department official.
The indictment is expected to be unsealed today in White Plains, N.Y., where Kerik, 52, is expected to surrender. The Justice official, who discussed the still-sealed indictment on the condition of anonymity, said Michael Garcia, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, would hold a news conference afterward outlining the charges.
The investigation has focused on gifts that Kerik is alleged to have accepted while serving as New York City’s corrections chief and later as police commissioner, including $165,000 in apartment renovations in 1999.
Last year, Kerik pleaded guilty to a New York state ethics charge in connection with the gifts and was placed on probation.
Federal authorities pursued their own investigation, which also examined Kerik’s conduct during his vetting to be the homeland security nominee in 2004.
Giuliani, the former New York mayor and current Republican presidential front-runner, declined to comment on the case Thursday. He told reporters earlier that he made a “mistake” in failing to investigate Kerik’s background, but he also praised the former commissioner, noting that crime in New York decreased during Kerik’s tenure.
Giuliani selected Kerik, his former driver and bodyguard, as corrections commissioner in 1998 and police commissioner in 2000, a meteoric rise for an officer who rose no higher than the rank of detective in the Police Department.