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Ex-NYC Top Cop Kerik Avoids Holiday Jail

Former New York City police Commissioner Bernard Kerik can get out of jail for the holidays, a federal court ruled Tuesday.

Kerik, who pleaded guilty to eight felonies last week, can remain out of jail until he is sentenced in February, federal Judge Stephen Robinson said.

Kerik left the federal courthouse in White Plains with his lawyers without speaking.

The judge imposed some conditions - home confinement, wearing an electronic monitoring device, and adding another $975,000 to the previous $500,000 bond, all secured by his house in Franklin Lakes, N.J. He would be allowed to visit his lawyers, accountants and a hospital emergency room if needed. However, the judge did not grant the former police commissioner's request to take his children to school.

"This is not home confinement, with morning strolls and afternoon strolls," Robinson said.

The judge warned Kerik that he was delaying the inevitable because "it's a mortal lock that there will be jail time at the end of this."

Kerik sat forward in his chair, looking eager, as the judge discussed his release. Hailed as a hero after the Sept. 11 attacks, Kerik avoided as many as three federal trials when he admitted Thursday that he lied about his associations while being considered for chief of Homeland Security.

He also pleaded guilty to lying on tax returns, a loan application and a questionnaire he filled out when he was seeking a separate U.S. government position. Under his plea bargain, he was not required to plead guilty to the main corruption charges against him.

Prosecutors suggested that Kerik's appropriate sentence would be 27 months to 33 months in prison, but the judge was not bound by that advice. He warned Kerik that the maximum sentence is 61 years. Kerik could also be fined.

The judge said he would consider Kerik's accomplishments when he sentences him.

Kerik was police commissioner when New York and Washington, D.C., were attacked in 2001. He was praised worldwide for his steely leadership. At the urging of his mentor, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Kerik was nominated to the top Homeland Security post in 2004.