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Page last updated at 14:19 GMT, Thursday, 22 October 2009 15:19 UK

Ex-NY police chief Kerik in jail

Bernard Kerik
Bernard Kerik was considered a national hero before the controversy

Former New York City police chief Bernard Kerik has had his bail revoked before the start of a corruption trial.

Mr Kerik, who was police commissioner at the time of the 9/11 attacks, was free on $500,000 (£303,000) bail.

A judge sent him to prison for passing on secret pre-trial documents, saying Mr Kerik must not "influence witnesses or prospective jurors".

Mr Kerik, who denies all charges, is accused of corruption, tax evasion and lying to White House officials.

He faces 15 federal counts brought against him. If convicted, he could face up to 142 years in prison and $4.75m (£2.87m) in penalties.

Contempt

In a strongly worded judgement, Judge Stephen Robinson said he was sending Mr Kerik to the cells in an effort to stop him obstructing the course of justice.

Mr Kerik, if left to his own devices, will obstruct justice
Judge Stephen Robinson

Judge Robinson described Mr Kerik as "a toxic combination of self-minded focus and arrogance" as he jailed him before the beginning of his first trial, on Monday.

The judge acted after Mr Kerik allegedly passed confidential information to the former trustee of his legal defence fund, Anthony Modafferi.

Mr Modafferi was accused by the judge of sharing that information with a national newspaper.

The judge ruled that Mr Kerik was probably in contempt of court, saying: "Mr Kerik, if left to his own devices, will obstruct justice."

Mr Kerik's lawyer Barry Berke said he planned to appeal against the ruling, although the judge denied a request to keep him out of jail before an appeal hearing.

Tax issues

Mr Kerik is accused of accepting a $250,000 payback in the form of apartment renovations from a company he gave a city contract to.

In 2008 he pleaded guilty in a state court to accepting the work.

Mr Kerik had been regaled as a national hero following the 9/11 terror attacks and in 2004 was nominated for the post of the head of the Department of Homeland Security in 2004.

But he withdrew his name from consideration for the role after he was accused of failing to pay taxes, and of having extramarital affairs.

According to the authorities, Mr Kerik failed to report more than $500,000 in taxable income between 1999 and 2004.

He is also alleged to have made false statements to White House and other federal officials while being considered for the homeland security role.



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