Today, Mr. Kerik steps into the can for 4 years. He was Mayor Giuliani’s police commissioner for a while, and much respected. If he’d only passed the bar, or become a politician, he’d have avoided this. Let his voice be heard, for he too is suffering:
"On Dec. 3, 2004, after three decades of dedicated service to the city of New York and our country, President George W. Bush nominated me to become the second secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security. It was a privilege and an honor, and I accepted the nomination with a strong belief that my experience and success as a public servant would make this country safer in the wake of a newfound enemy as we continued to defend ourselves in the war against terror.
"One week later, I withdrew my name from consideration because the confirmation process was deteriorating into a nightmare that threatened to make a mockery of everything I had ever accomplished. What began with failing to pay the payroll tax of my children’s nanny — which has plagued more than a dozen presidential Cabinet nominees, past and present — became a 5½-year nightmare of local, state and federal investigations that resulted in a 15-count criminal indictment against me. For nearly three years, I prepared to go to trial to defend myself against substantially the same charges I’d already faced in New York State Court. Then, just days before the federal trial was to begin, my bail was revoked and I was imprisoned. The judge threatened to disqualify my legal team, which both he and the government prosecutors had already done twice before and would have sent me back to square one for the third time with my savings now exhausted.
"Nov. 5, 2009, I was being held in pretrial detention and financially helpless. I faced the prospect of remaining behind bars awaiting trial for what could have been more than a year while new court-appointed lawyers prepared for my defense. As a result, I decided to accept a plea agreement offered by the government prosecutors. Plead guilty to eight counts in exchange for a sentence of 27 to 33 months, which many legal observers have opined as severe considering the allegations made against me, especially considering my otherwise unblemished record of service to this country dating back more than 30 years to my days as a young GI in Korea.
"Ignoring the signed plea agreement and recommendations made by the prosecutors, as well as the recommendation of the US Department of Probation and my highly decorated service to the American people, the judge sentenced me to 48 months in federal prison — 15 months over the recommended and agreed upon sentence. Words cannot express my disappointment in the prosecutors and the judge’s behavior, and his sentence that followed. I have repeatedly expressed remorse for what I may have done; however, unlike many, I can’t remain silent in the face of what I believe has been a gross injustice, which I pray will be remedied by an appellate court.
"As I prepare to serve my sentence, I have had to likewise prepare Angelina and Celine, my 7- and 10-year-old daughters, for what is next to come and to teach them there are times we are put in situations which are beyond our control and no matter how undeserved, unsought or unwanted, we must find the strength, courage and perseverance to carry on and move forward.
"In my life, I have been confronted with extraordinary challenges, from age 3 when I was abandoned by my own mother who was later murdered, to gun battles on the streets of New York City, through the aftermath of 9/11, to my work rebuilding a shattered Iraq, these are the principles by which I have lived. Friends say I became a convenient target of personal and political attacks, most of which were waged by people who never met me and know nothing about me other than what they’ve heard or read. I’ve listened to my critics and often wondered how they would have fared under the same circumstances and scrutiny.
"I have been blessed with tremendous support, friendships and loyalties that I will never forget, and [they] mean more to me than anyone will ever know — those that have been in my corner and spoken up for me, written letters of support and prayed for me. It is a humbling thing to have such support. I will forever cherish it.
"I do think there is some light within me! That light is my love for my wife, my children, and my country. And now, as I have told Celine and Angelina, ‘It is time to move forward,’ and end this nightmare. I pray for our country, its leadership and the men and women who, like my policeman son, are in harm’s way every day, protecting us from evil and defending the very freedoms by which we live. Finally, I can only hope history will judge me based on my 30 years of public service to our great nation, and not by headlines, my imperfections or the mistakes I may have made."