Former NYC police commissioner demands apology from Jan. 6 committee, but plans to comply

By | November 23, 2021

Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik would like an apology from the Jan. 6 select committee. But he also plans to comply with the subpoena it served to him, according to a letter reviewed by POLITICO.

Kerik worked with Rudy Giuliani, his longtime ally and Donald Trump’s then-lawyer, in the weeks after the 2020 election to search for evidence of voter fraud that could have swung the race to Trump. A host of other investigators — including the FBI — also scrutinized claims of widespread voter fraud. The issue was fought out in multiple courts, and Giuliani suffered a series of defeats. Attorney General Bill Barr also said publicly that the FBI did not find evidence of fraud that would have changed the election results.

The committee subpoenaed Kerik in part because its investigators believed he attended a meeting at the Willard Hotel in Washington on Jan. 5 with Giuliani, Steve Bannon and others. But according to the letter POLITICO reviewed — which his lawyer sent Tuesday to the panel’s chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) — that’s a fabrication.

The committee cited a Washington Post story and a recent book by Robert Costa and Bob Woodward to corroborate its assertions concerning Kerik. But the article does not say Kerik attended the meeting, and the book doesn’t mention Kerik at all, according to his lawyer, Timothy C. Parlatore. Rather, Parlatore wrote to the committee, Kerik was in New York on Jan. 5 handling a family medical emergency.

“If you were not personally responsible for this fabrication and false statements, then someone on your staff was and should be held accountable,” the letter continues. “Someone either intentionally fabricated this claim, or someone failed at the simple task of carefully reading the sources before writing a letter claiming that the sources ‘have revealed credible evidence.’”

The letter also criticizes the committee for saying Kerik worked with Giuliani to “promote baseless litigation” related to the election results and claims that Kerik has evidence that could support “true claims of voter fraud” in litigation. It further says that a committee staffer asked Kerik’s lawyer multiple times in a phone call if Kerik would not comply with the subpoena.

“When someone continuously invites non-compliance in this manner, it gives the distinct impression that the goal was never to have him comply, but rather to cause him to not comply and face indictment, like Mr. Bannon,” the letter continues.

Then the letter from Kerik’s attorney makes a demand.

“For these reasons, Mr. Kerik demands that both the letter and press release be withdrawn or corrected and an apology issued,” it says. “Whether intentional or negligent, allowing these false statements to stand on the website of this Committee is improper and should be corrected.”

But, the letter continues, Kerik “still intends to comply with the subpoena.” The letter says Kerik’s work is covered by the privilege that shields lawyers’ work from becoming public, since he worked for Giuliani, who was representing then-President Trump. Kerik found evidence of voter fraud, according to his attorney, but couldn’t finish his work to determine if it would have changed the election’s outcome.

“Although the law is clear that these documents are exempt from disclosure, we are working to see if some form of limited privilege waiver can be obtained because Mr. Kerik very much wants to cooperate and provide these documents to the Committee, so that the American people can witness first-hand what he and others on the president’s legal team saw for themselves,” the letter says.

Kerik has known Giuliani for decades, even working as his driver and bodyguard during the 1993 mayoral campaign, according to CNN. Kerik ascended to head the city’s police department and was commissioner on the day of the Sept. 11 attacks.

After Kerik worked in the private sector, former President George W. Bush nominated him to helm the new Department of Homeland Security. But the nomination imploded, and he later faced a host of criminal charges. He ultimately pleaded guilty to several counts and was sentenced to 48 months in prison. Trump pardoned him years after he completed his sentence.

Kerik later worked for Giuliani’s unsuccessful post-election effort to prove in court that voter fraud stole the race from Trump. He appeared at the historic Four Seasons Total Landscaping press conference.

A spokesperson for the committee declined to comment. Parlatore did not immediately respond to a request for comment.