Giuliani Campaign Takes Big Hit; Charges Expected Against Kerik
by Jonathan Singer, Fri Oct 12, 2007 at 10:24:38 AM EDT
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).