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Bernard Kerik is home after 3 years in prison

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FRANKLIN LAKES,  N.J. (PIX11) —  A radically thinner Bernard  Kerik — the former NYC police commissioner once nominated to be Homeland Security secretary — returned home from federal prison Tuesday afternoon, three years after he was sentenced to jail time for tax fraud and lying.

Kerik waved to the assembled media from a distance, before giving big hugs to his wife, Hala, their two daughters, and Kerik’s older son, Joseph, who is a Newark, N. J.,  police officer.

Kerik was sentenced to four years in prison in February 2010, not long after he pleaded guilty to eight felony charges, including lying during a White House background check.


Bernard Kerik arrives at his home in New Jersey after spending three years in prison.

It was a huge fall for the one-time NYPD commissioner who was raised on the tough streets of Paterson, N.J. — after he survived a childhood marred by a drug-addicted mother who worked as a prostitute, a mom who was  murdered when Kerik was 9-years-old.

Kerik later served in the U.S. Army, became a decorated NYPD narcotics detective, and then hooked up with New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in the 1990s — and Kerik watched his own career take a meteoric rise.

Kerik home

Bernard Kerik was released a year early.

Kerik was credited with cleaning up gang violence as commissioner at the New York City Department of Corrections.

In 2000, Giuliani appointed Kerik the city ‘s 40th police commissioner, and Kerik was in that post when terrorists in jets attacked the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. Kerik had to dodge falling debris.

At the request of then President George W. Bush, Kerik went to Iraq to build up the National Police there, after the U.S.-led invasion.

kerik wife

Bernard Kerik’s wife told PIX11 his return is “one of the happiest days of our lives.”

In December 2004, Bush nominated Kerik to be secretary of Homeland Security. But Kerik was forced to withdraw a week later, amid revelations he had hired an undocumented worker as a nanny.

Later, Kerik faced an ethics probe in the Bronx for allowing a mob-connected contracting company to  do $250,000 in renovations on his Riverdale apartment, in exchange for influence-peddling.

On November 5, 2009, Kerik pleaded guilty to tax fraud and lying in a Washington, D.C.-based case.

His wife of 15 years told PIX 11 at her doorstep Tuesday, before Kerik arrived: “It’s one of the happiest days of our lives. He ‘s coming home.”

But there was no sign of Giuliani, the godfather to Kerik’s two youngest daughters.


  • Roberta

    I am the mom of a Michigan inmate and I too like you,Bernard, live with a heavy heart knowing that the lock up system is so unfair and I know that anybody can end up there and then at that time is when you can't believe this is happening. I love my son and don't like to sit back with my hands tied while days pass by and like what was said,it is like dying with your eyes opened. My son left the scene of an accident and now has served 10 months of his 5 year sentence. No alcohol or drugs involved. A person tied to stop a moving snowmobile and was struck my son then drove off,the person then was taken to hospital by girlfriend /ambulance. The person is just fine. Yes my son should be punished for reacting the way he did , jail time would have been fair,but Judge has consistently expressed his dislike for the people that live on this peninsula. I understand you wanting to address this national blanket suppressing our inmates in the U.S. The prison system all has to do with money and keeping the economy running smooth. This issue is all about, " you don't know, what you do not know.

  • advanpro

    Kerik was sentenced to four years in prison in February 2010, not long after he pleaded guilty to eight felony charges, including lying during a White House background check.

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