- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 27, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) — Former police Commissioner Bernard Kerik was indicted again Tuesday on charges of making false statements to White House officials vetting him for the position of Department of Homeland Security secretary.

The indictment, handed up by a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., means Kerik will face trials in New York and Washington.

Similar false-statement charges were brought as part of a larger case in New York but were dismissed and transferred to Washington, where prosecutors say the crimes occurred.

The indictment alleges Kerik, a Rudy Giuliani protege, falsely denied to White House officials that as a public official he had any financial dealings with contractors seeking to do business with the city. Prosecutors say the contractors spent more than $255,000 renovating Kerik’s apartment.

Kerik’s lawyer, Barry Berke, characterized the indictment as “the latest example of the Department of Justice’s overzealous pursuit of high-profile public figures.” He said the Washington charges are virtually identical to the New York charges.

“Mr. Kerik will vigorously defend himself against these unfounded accusations and is confident that he will be completely vindicated,” Berke said.

The indictment could mean that Kerik faces three trials.

Federal Judge Stephen Robinson, who ruled that the false-statement charges should be tried in Washington, also divided what remained of the New York indictment into separate tax and corruption cases. He ordered two trials for Kerik in White Plains, the first of which is scheduled to start in October.

The corruption trial will center on allegations that Kerik, while commissioner of the Department of Correction, accepted apartment renovations from a construction company in exchange for recommending the company for city contracts. The tax counts include allegations of failing to declare income and filing false returns.

Kerik was correction commissioner from 1998 to 2000 and police commissioner in 2000 and 2001, when Giuliani was mayor.

He withdrew in December 2004 as former President George W. Bush’s nominee to be Homeland Security secretary. Amid a rising list of problems with the nomination, Kerik said he was backing out because he discovered he had hired an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper and nanny and had failed to pay the required employment taxes and make related filings on the worker’s behalf.

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