Bernard Kerik was released from federal prison today despite only serving three years of his sentence. The disgraced former NYPD commissioner was sentenced to four years for corruption charges but has been released early. He pleaded guilty to eight felony charges in 2009 for a bevy of offenses.
George W. Bush nominated Kerik as the Secretary of Homeland Security in 2004, but Kerik withdrew his acceptance a week into the vetting process because of immigration law violations like hiring undocumented workers as a nanny and housekeeper. He was also facing a sexual harassment lawsuit and allegations of misuse of police property.
Kerik was Rudy Giuliani's bodyguard and chauffeur during his first (unsuccessful) run for mayor in 1989. He finally won in 1993, and promoted Kerik, who is a high school dropout. Giuliani made Kerik NYPD commissioner in 2011 even though he had failed to complete requirements to even become a sergeant (like earning a college degree). In 2008, even Giuliani admitted he had made a mistake when he recommended Kerik to President Bush.
He first pleaded guilty to ethics violations in 2006, which were only misdemeanors but carried fines of $221,000. He was indicted again in 2007 for receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in home renovations from a construction company trying to do obtain a city license (and is alleged to have ties to organized crime). Those charges were eventually dropped, but he was re-indicted in Washington, D.C.
Finally, his bail was revoked in 2009 for leaking sealed information and he pleaded guilty to two counts of tax fraud (he lied to the IRS about his questionable income), five counts of lying to the federal government (during his short-lived Homeland Security nomination), and one count of making a false statement on a loan application.
It's unclear why Kerik was released this week, but he apparently had been anticipating his freedom. "He put in a request for some food that he's been missing for a few years," said Albert Manzo, who runs the New Jersey catering company that Kerik hired for a 20-guest meal upon his return. "He loves our short ribs, shrimp scampi—a lot of things he doesn't have access to there," Manzo said. Kerik's wife, his two daughters, and several friends are expected to celebrate at his home in Bergen County, New Jersey.
Kerik will reportedly be confined to his home until October as part of his sentence. "He's looking forward to getting home and seeing his family and his house," a friend said.