Trump pardons former NYPD commissioner

Former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik was convicted in 2010 of crimes including tax fraud and lying to the White House

Joseph Ostapiuk
Staten Island Advance

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — President Donald Trump on Tuesday went on a pardoning spree, absolving the prison sentence of former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik, who was convicted of crimes including tax fraud and lying to the White House in connection with a scheme that allegedly involved two brothers who are former Staten Island residents.

"There are no words to express my appreciation and gratitude to President Trump," Kerik wrote in a statement on Twitter. "With the exception of the birth of my children, today is one of the greatest days of my life -- being made a full and whole American citizen again."

Former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik was pardoned this week after a 2010 conviction for crimes including tax fraud and lying to the White House. (Photo/TNS)
Former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik was pardoned this week after a 2010 conviction for crimes including tax fraud and lying to the White House. (Photo/TNS)

Kerik was sentenced in 2010 after pleading guilty to eight felonies following being nominated as homeland security secretary by then-President George W. Bush. He later withdrew from consideration due to potential tax violations, the Advance previously reported.

Kerik's conviction spurred after he received $165,000 in free renovations in exchange for helping Peter and Frank DiTommaso -- both New Jersey residents who are ex-Staten Islanders -- obtain a license for their company, Interstate Industrial Corp., authorities alleged at the time.

The brothers were accused of lying to a grand jury when they testified that the company didn't pay for the renovations.

In December 2012, Peter DiTommaso was convicted of two counts of perjury and later sentenced to five years' probation, 1,500 hours of community service and two $5,000 fines. Frank DiTommaso was acquitted of the charges, the Advance previously reported.

In 2015, a state appellate court overturned the perjury conviction against Peter DiTomasso, citing the Bronx state Supreme Court, which had incorrectly allowed prosecutors to admit as evidence a testifying witness's grand-jury testimony.

The same year, Frank DiTommaso was seen on surveillance video allegedly attacking his former friend, Larry Ray, an FBI informant whose testimony against Kerik resulted in a federal prison sentence, according to a Daily News report.

Frank DiTommaso was initially charged with felony assault in April 2016 for the alleged beat-down inside the hotel, but the charge was later reduced to a misdemeanor by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.

Kerik was hailed as a hero as he helped rally New York City's police force and its citizens following the 9/11 terror attacks.

Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Trump's current personal lawyer, previously backed Bush's nomination of Kerik to be secretary of homeland security.

After charges against Kerik arose, Giuliani told the Advance he was "very saddened by it, personally saddened by it."

"I worry for his children and for his wife," Giuliani said. "I'm very disappointed with what Bernie did. He's admitted to that. But I also realize how complicated it is, because as many bad things as Bernie did, he did as many good things."

Said Giuliani: "He was an excellent police commissioner for the things that we publicly knew about, the ability to reduce crime. And he was a hero on Sept. 11, and nobody can take that away from him."

In addition to pardoning Kerik's sentence, Trump commuted the 14-year prison sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Blagojevich, a Democrat who has served eight years of a 14-year sentence for pay-for-play charges, exhausted his last appellate option in 2018, according to the Associated Press.

Trump also pardoned financier Michael Milken, who pleaded guilty to violating U.S. securities laws and served two years in prison in the early 1990s, the Associated Press reported. Trump also pardoned Edward DeBartolo Jr., the former San Francisco 49ers owner convicted in a gambling fraud scandal.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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