Trump Pardons 9/11 Hero & Ex-NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik
On February 18, 2020, President Donald Trump announced the pardon of Bernard Kerik, the former NYPD commissioner who spent time in prison for tax fraud and lying to the government.
This news came hours after Trump pardoned Edward DeBartolo Jr., the former San Francisco 49ers owner was convicted in a gambling fraud scandal. DeBartolo Jr. built one of the most successful franchises in NFL history.
Kerik was nominated to be the nation’s head of homeland security on one occasion and spent three years in prison before being released in 2013.
He was viewed as a hero for leading the NYPD during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. However, Kerik’s image took a hit when he became the first New York City police commissioner to be imprisoned for federal crimes.
His legal problems spilled over and muddied the political aspirations of other elected officials, such as former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
While leaving the White House Tuesday afternoon, Trump said he “pardoned” Kerik “a man who had many recommendations from a lot of good people.”
After being pardoned, Kerik went on Twitter to thank the president writing that “there are no words to express my appreciation and gratitude to President Trump. He continued by saying that “with the exception of the birth of my children, today is one of the greatest days in my life.”
Kerik proceed to describe his prison experience as “dying with your eyes open,’ citing the “collateral consequences and the permanent loss of many of your civil and constitutional rights are personally devastating.”
Kerik volunteered to be Giuliani’s chauffeur and provided security during his first unsuccessful run for mayor. Once he secured the mayor’s office in 1993, Giuliani promoted Kerik, a high school dropout, to the highest echelons of New York City government.
The mayor eventually promoted his former bodyguard as the city’s 40th police commissioner in 2001.
Kerik almost became President George Bush’s Homeland Security Secretary in 2004, but he was quickly dropped as a nominee.
Two days afterwards, The Daily News reported that Larry Ray, who had been the best man at Kerik’s wedding, had presented evidence of Kerik failing to report thousands of dollars in gifts he’d received while he was an employee of New York City.