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October 20, 2009 4:53 PM

Bernie Goes to Jail: Judge Puts Ex-NYC Police Commish Behind Bars

Posted by Brian Baxter

Bernard Kerik's long-awaited public corruption trial hasn't even started and already the former New York City police commissioner has ticked off a federal judge enough to have his bail revoked.

The New York Times reports that Kerik's disclosure of non-public court documents to New Jersey lawyer Anthony Modafferri III, a trustee for Kerik's legal defense fund, ended up being leaked in an e-mail to The Washington Times that defamed prosecutors.

The Am Law Daily has reported on Kerik's upcoming trial and the allegations against him and Modafferi (described as Kerik's "propagandist and chief fundraiser" by U.S. district court judge Stephen Robinson).

In his bail ruling, the Times reports Robinson delivered a stinging rebuke of Kerik, calling him a "toxic combination of self-minded focus and arrogance, and I fear that combination leads him to believe his ends justify his means."

"[Kerik] sees the court's rulings as an inconvenience," Robinson added, "something to be ignored, and an obstacle to be circumvented."

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel litigation heavyweight Barry Berke is representing Kerik in the corruption trial; he had no role in the illicit disclosures. Nonetheless, Berke told The Am Law Daily that he would be filing an expedited appeal for his client in the hope of getting Kerik's $500,000 bail reinstated before trial begins. (Berke declined further comment.)

Robinson also declined a request by Berke to delay putting Kerik behind bars for 48 hours while defense lawyers prepared an appeal.

Jury selection in the corruption case is tentatively scheduled for October 26, but that could be pushed back pending an appellate court's ruling on Kerik's bail.

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