Michael J. Garcia has been the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York since 2003, but has generally kept a far lower profile than, say, one of his predecessors, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who held the same job in the 1980s. But today Mr. Garcia stood in front of the television cameras for a major indictment: that of Bernard B. Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner, on charges of conspiracy, tax evasion and making false statements.
All the key players in this case seem connected. It was Mr. Giuliani who guided Mr. Kerik’s career, promoting Mr. Kerik, who had been a third-grade detective and then correction commissioner and police commissioner. And it was President Bush who chose Mr. Garcia to be the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan in 2003 and who selected Mr. Kerik to be secretary of the Department of Homeland Security in 2004, before Mr. Kerik withdrew from consideration, saying he had not paid certain taxes for a nanny he had employed.
In his remarks today, Mr. Garcia avoided any mention of Mr. Giuliani and President Bush, even during the question-and-answer session, when reporters peppered him with questions about whether Mr. Giuliani should admit to errors in judgment. Instead, Mr. Garcia focused his ire on Mr. Kerik, focusing on what he called a betrayal of public trust. The full text of Mr. Garcia’s remarks, as provided by his office, follows.
Today we announce the unsealing of an indictment charging former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik with conspiring to receive over a quarter of a million dollars in free renovations from a contractor doing business with the city of New York, with tax crimes, and with lying to to the federal government.
Kerik is charged with engaging in a scheme to deprive the city of New York of his honest services while he was the commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction and New York City Police Department. A company that was seeking to do business with the city paid more than $250,000 for renovations on an apartment owned by Kerik. During the time Kerik secretly accepted these payments he lobbied city officials on behalf of his benefactors — in effect selling his office, in violation of his duty to the people of the city. Several of the payments were made on his behalf after he had taken an oath as the New York City police commissioner, breaking the laws he had sworn to uphold.
The indictment charges that Kerik went to great lengths to conceal the scheme. He did so: (1) by filing four separate false financial disclosure reports with city officials which concealed the payments, (2) by misleading city officials about his relationship with those who were paying him, and (3) by obstructing the city’s investigation by causing multiple witnesses to lie to the investigators.
Kerik is also charged with obstructing the I.R.S. and filing false tax returns. He repeatedly failed to disclose to the I.R.S. and his own accountants the full extent of his income, and in some cases, provided false information about deductions. Income items that Kerik is alleged to have failed to report include: