Giuliani Campaign Takes Big Hit; Charges Expected Against Kerik

Rudy Giuliani may be leading in the national polls for the GOP nomination and viewed by the folks inside the Beltway as the leading Republican in the race today, but lurking beneath is a real problem -- two words: Bernie Kerik (from Greg B. Smith of the New York Daily News, via TPM).

Bernard Kerik's legal nightmare is about to get worse, with federal prosecutors expected to file charges against the former police commissioner that will likely include allegations of bribery, tax fraud and obstruction of justice, the Daily News has learned.

The indictment, expected next month, could prove to be an embarrassing obstacle for Kerik's former mentor Rudy Giuliani, who is cruising at the top of the polls heading into the presidential primary gauntlet.

[...]

Last spring, Kerik turned down a deal to plead guilty to tax charges. Since then, the probe has expanded to include other charges, the sources said.

The indictment will have direct implications for Giuliani, the sources said.

For one, another Giuliani commissioner and a top inspector general during Giuliani's years as mayor will be called as witnesses to describe the secret meeting in Tribeca.

This news is just awful for Giuliani, and the only thing that doesn't make it a total disaster for the GOP as a whole is the fact that it's coming out now, not after Giuliani secured the nomination -- though they could still fall into a bit of a trap by choosing Giuliani. Here's how it would play out. Giuliani is nominated. Unless Kerik goes for a plea deal relatively soon, a trial could play out over the course of the next several months, perhaps even longer than a year. In this case, questions about Kerik's alleged mob ties, and Giuliani's repeated and continued support for Kerik during his mayoralty and afterward, dog Giuliani throughout the campaign, with every new revelation from the trial adding more fuel to the flames. Combine this with the potential that conservative Whte Evangelicals, or at least a portion of them, would stay home or even worse vote for a third party, and it grows increasingly difficult to see a Giuliani victory in a general election (a situation that according to the most recent polling, which puts Hillary Clinton up 51 percent to 43 percent over Giuliani, already doesn't extremely likely).

Tags: Bernie Kerik, Republican Primaries, Rudy Giuliani (all tags)

Comments

3 Comments

Re: Giuliani Campaign Takes Big Hit; Charges Expec

And would Kerik, facing years in prison, hesitate to throw Giuliani under the bus if he has enough dirt? True, he's been loyal, but given his general ethics, I would trust him as far as I could throw him.

by NewDeal 2007-10-12 11:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Giuliani Campaign Takes Big Hit; Charges Expec

I am sure the media will find a way to give Giuliani a pass on this. After all, he is the hero of 9/11. Haven't you heard?

by Mister Go 2007-10-12 12:04PM | 0 recs
Kerik Timeline

The deadline for the charges tax charges is November 19, 2007 (when a tolling agreement on the statute of limitations is due to expire).  Unless Kerik and the USAO agree to extend the deadline, the indictment will be unsealed between now and then.  There will be additional news attention when Kerik enters his plea and has a bond hearing (likely the same day).

Under the Speedy Trial Act, unless the case is denominated as a "complex case" (which is unlikely here), the trial would have to be schedueled for within 70 days - late January or early February.  That trial date will likely get pushed out by motions filed by Kerik, but I would bet that a trial (or plea) will take place between March and August 2008.  Sentencing would take place roughly ninety days later.

I would think that Rudy's most preferred option (other than this whole thing going away) would be to have the nomination wrapped up in early March, have Kerik plead in late March or April, and get sentenced in June or July, before the conventions.  

We should start asking Guiliani to commit himself not to pardon or commute the sentence of Kerik now.

by Ephus 2007-10-12 12:07PM | 0 recs

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