Bernard Kerik (born 1955) was a high-level law enforcement officer and close associate of Rudy Giuliani. When Giuliani was mayor of New York City, he appointed Kerik as the New York City police commissioner, and in late 2001 Giuliani even named the Manhattan Detention Complex after Kerik. In December 2004, Giuliani apparently persuaded President George W. Bush to nominate Kerik as Secretary of Homeland Security.
Kerik withdrew himself from the nomination for Secretary of Homeland Security about a week after his nomination by President Bush, amid many questions about Kerik's past that included allegations that he had hired an illegal immigrant as a nanny.
Newsweek reported that there may have been additional reasons for his withdrawing:
- But there may have been other issues at play. Kerik, who recently made millions in the private sector, once filed for personal bankruptcy as a New York cop. And just five years ago he was in financial trouble over a condominium he owned in New Jersey. More serious trouble than anyone realized: NEWSWEEK has discovered that a New Jersey judge in 1998 had issued an arrest warrant as part of a convoluted series of lawsuits relating to unpaid bills on his condo. The magazine faxed documents, including the arrest warrant, over to the White House around 6:00 p.m. Friday, asking for comment. Neither Kerik nor the White House had any immediate response. At 8:30 p.m., Kerik had submitted his letter to the president.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who succeeded Guiliani in office, eventually removed Kerik's name from the Manhattan Detention Complex.
On April 1, 2007, it was widely reported in the news that Kerik had just rejected a plea bargain that included serving time in a federal prison based on allegations made when he was nominated in 2004 to become Secretary of Homeland Security. Kerik reportedly may next be indicted by federal prosecutors. The Chicago Tribune explained:
- Former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik has rejected a plea deal offered by federal prosecutors pursuing multiple charges against him, most related to his failed bid to become Homeland Security secretary, The Associated Press has learned.
- A person close to the federal investigation said prosecutors could indict Kerik on multiple felony counts, including tax evasion, conspiracy to eavesdrop and providing false information -- though indictments are not believed to be imminent, the person said.
The close political connection between Giuliani and Kerik has become a liability for Giuliani in his 2008 presidential race. Giuliani even testified before a grand jury in a criminal action concerning Kerik.