Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters
A day after complaining with Fox host Tucker Carlson that criminals in New York City should be punished more harshly, convicted felon Bernard Kerik has been pardoned by President Donald Trump.
On December 3, 2004, President Bush nominated Bernard Kerik to head the Department of Homeland Security, reportedly after Giuliani had repeatedly made a “personal pitch to the White House” on Kerik’s behalf. Giuliani had appointed Kerik New York City Police Commissioner in 2000 — even after Giuliani was reportedly briefed on Kerik’s ties to what the Times described as a company “suspected of links to organized crime” — and the two were reportedly “literally inseparable on 9/11 and in the months that followed.”
On December 10, 2004, Kerik withdrew his nomination. Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson subsequently began investigating Kerik for corruption, resulting in Kerik’s 2007 indictment on 16 counts. In 2009, Kerik pleaded guilty to eight felonies, including two counts of tax fraud, one count of making a false statement on a loan application, and five counts of making false statements to the government. The last charges “stemmed from statements Mr. Kerik made to the White House during the vetting process after the Bush administration nominated him to lead the Department of Homeland Security.” In 2010, Kerik was sentenced to four years in prison.
Kerik was released in May 2013 after serving three years.
Kerik has been a regular on Fox News in the Trump era, appearing on weekday Fox programming at least 39 times since the beginning of 2018 according to Media Matters’ internal database. This does not include weekend appearances, such as when he’s appeared on Jeanine Pirro’s show on Saturday evenings.
The day before Trump announced the pardon, Kerik appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight to attack New York’s cash bail reform, arguing that the state needs to be significantly tougher on criminals. Carlson simply introduced him as a former New York City police commissioner, before Kerik complained about New York’s bail reform law.
Fox News has been directly responsible for a number of pardons given by Trump, most notably for war crimes. The network is also linked to the commutation of former Illinois governor and Celebrity Apprentice contestant Rod Blagojevich‘s sentence for bribery and political corruption.
The White House statement announcing clemency for Kerik specifically credited Fox News personalities Geraldo Rivera and Andrew Napolitano in a list of people supporting the decision.