October 20, 2009 6:13 PM
No Weekend at Bernie's: Judge Sends "Toxic" Former NYC Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik to Jail
Photo: Bernard Kerik, center, outside the Federal Court House in White Plains in 2007.
(AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBS/AP) Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik is heading back to the slammer — and not for the reasons you might expect.
A federal judge on Tuesday revoked Kerik's bail as he awaits a corruption trial scheduled to start next week.
Calling Kerik "a toxic combination of self-minded focus and arrogance," Judge Stephen Robinson said he was revoking the $500,000 bail and sending him to jail because Kerik disclosed sealed case information to the trustee of his legal defense fund.
The trustee shared some of the secret information with the Washington Times, which didn't publish it. The judge said he did not believe Kerik's claim that the trustee had been hired as a lawyer and was therefore allowed to see the information.
"The failure of Mr. Kerik to abide by the direct order of this court... must be appropriately addressed," said the judge, adding that Kerik was being jailed to make sure he was unable to "influence witnesses or prospective jurors," Robinson said.
Photo: Former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik, right, with Former President George Bush.
Defense lawyer Barry Berke said he would appeal the ruling and seek a stay, but he said he was unsure if that could be accomplished before the trial, which is scheduled to begin Monday.
Kerik is charged with accepting apartment renovations from a construction company in exchange for recommending the company for city contracts. He has pleaded not guilty.
At the end of the court session, Kerik took off his purple tie, emptied his pockets, removed a ring from his finger and gave them to his lawyer. He then walked off in custody.
Kerik was police commissioner when terrorists crashed jetliners into the two World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001. He and then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani received glowing reviews for their leadership in the crisis. Kerik was later President George W. Bush's pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security, but withdrew.
Robinson said Tuesday that Kerik seemed to believe that "the rulings of this court are an inconvenience to be forgotten or an obstacle to be circumvented. Mr. Kerik sees himself as a victim of circumstance... I think he needs to refocus."
Kerik faces a second trial on tax charges, and a third that claims he lied to White House officials vetting him for the position of Homeland Security secretary.