Ex-NYPD Commissioner Kerik pleads guilty

(AP) - Former New York City PoliceCommissioner Bernard Kerik pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to theWhite House and said he would also admit to tax crimes.

The plea bargain, which included an anticipated eight charges,included the prosecution's suggestion that the crimes arepunishable by 27 to 33 months in prison. It was designed to resolvethree pending federal criminal trials.

Kerik, who was police commissioner when New York was attacked on9/11, won glowing reviews for his leadership. He eventually wasnominated for the Homeland Security post in 2004 but withdrew ascorruption allegations mounted. The lies to the White Houseoccurred during that vetting process.

The first of his trials had been scheduled to start Monday inWhite Plains.

Before he began formally entering his pleas, Kerik told JudgeStephen Robinson that, in addition to the White House lies, hewould admit to counts that included cheating the IRS, helping toprepare false tax returns and making other false statements to thefederal government.

Robinson warned Kerik that the maximum sentence for the countsto which he was pleading was 61 years in prison; the judge said hewas not bound by the terms of the plea agreement.

Kerik said he understood and told the judge he was giving up hisright to appeal.

Kerik denied to the White House that he'd had any financialdealings with firms trying to do business with the city. The taxcharges included hiding income from his returns and illegallyclaiming charitable deductions.

In the agreement, he promised to file amended tax returns for1999, 2003 and 2005.

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