Bernard Kerik, New York City's disgraced former police commissioner, went to jail Tuesday after a judge revoked his bail for disclosing sealed trial information that could poison his upcoming corruption trial.
At the end of a hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Robinson in White Plains, Kerik took off his purple tie, emptied his pockets and removed a ring from his finger, giving his possessions to his lawyer before marshals led him away.
Robinson revoked Kerik's $500,000 bail following a hearing that lasted more than three hours regarding confidential trial information that Kerik disclosed to the trustee of his legal defense fund, who in turn released it to The Washington Times. The newspaper did not publish the information.
Kerik's attorney, Barry Berke, argued that the trustee was part of Kerik's legal team and therefore was allowed to see the information.
But Robinson, who had warned Kerik last month that he would be jailed for similar behavior, said he did not believe Kerik and delivered a stern rebuke.
"My fear is that he has a toxic combination of self-minded focus and arrogance, and I fear that combination leads him to believe that his ends justify his means," Robinson said. "The failure of Mr. Kerik to abide by the direct order of this court . . . must be appropriately addressed."
Robinson said he was ordering Kerik to jail so he would not be able to "influence witnesses or prospective jurors" in a trial that is scheduled to begin Monday with jury selection.
The judge said 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 has pleaded not guilty to charges of accepting apartment renovations from a construction company in exchange for recommending the company for city contracts.
Kerik received glowing reviews for his leadership during the Sept. 11 attacks. That leadership led then-President George W. Bush to pick Kerik as the first nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security. Kerik had to withdraw after he allegedly lied during the vetting process to White House officials about an undocumented immigrant he had employed.
Kerik faces a second trial on tax charges, and a third on claims that he lied to White House officials. With AP