Fox News anchor Gerald Rivera continued his one-man crusade against the jailing and prosecution of former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik Sunday night, describing Kerik’s imprisonment without bail last week as a “cynical ploy by a runaway judge.”
Rivera, who has been virtually alone among major media figures covering Kerik’s prosecution, lambasted “hanging judge” Stephen Robinson for ordering that the former commissioner’s heroic service during the 9/11 attacks could not be cited at his trial.
“I am so offended that I am alone in speaking out for this man who has done so much for this city and this country,” Rivera said on his Fox show, “Geraldo at Large.” “Murderers get bail in New York. Rapists get bail in New York. And the former police commissioner of New York does not get bail?”
Kerik is accused of accepting renovations to his co-op in exchange for recommending a company that wanted to do business with New York City. He has pleaded not guilty.
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Joining Rivera was famed security expert Richard “Bo” Dietl, a former NYPD detective who said that revoking Kerik’s bail was a “travesty” of justice.
“They should do the right thing – let the man go home, let the man go to trial,’’ said Dietl. “If he’s guilty, then they should prove that he’s guilty. Don’t do this to this man. You’re destroying this man and his family. He was an American hero.”
Kerik is being blamed, both Dietl and Rivera said, for the leaking of material in his case when in fact there has been no proof that he was involved. At a hearing Tuesday in White Plains, New York, Judge Robinson excoriated Kerik after prosecutors alleged he and one of his attorneys had released sealed court information to The Washington Times.
Robinson told the court: “My fear is that he has a toxic combination of self-minded focus and arrogance, and I fear that combination leads him to believe that his ends justify his means. The failure of Mr. Kerik to abide by the direct order of this court . . . must be appropriately addressed."
Robinson claimed that he was placing Kerik in jail to prevent him from influencing “witnesses or prospective jurors" in his upcoming trial.
Judge Reena Raggi of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday granted Kerik's motion for an expedited appeal and said it would be heard Thursday in Manhattan. He is in the Westchester County Jail.
Robinson, Rivera said, “must recuse himself. If he has any morality, he must recuse himself and let a younger, objective judge” take the case.
The show Sunday night continued a week-long effort by Rivera to draw attention to the Kerik’s plight, which has been the subject of mocking treatment in some New York City papers. During a Thursday morning interview on the "Imus in the Morning" show, syndicated from WABC radio in New York, Rivera defended Kerik as a national hero facing unjust prosecution.
Rivera then questioned whether Kerik could expect to get a fair trial in light of the judge’s comments and actions.
“This federal judge up there, this guy Stephen Robinson, seems to have such a thing up his behind about Bernie that he has revoked Commissioner Kerik’s bail pending trial,” Geraldo told Imus, adding that the judge’s public comments against Kerik were an outrage.
“My point is you’ve never had a federal judge — ever — lambasting a defendant,” Rivera said, adding, “You know, the judge says that his fear is that Bernie Kerik is trying to taint the jury pool and yet here’s this federal judge, this guy Robinson, who goes after Kerik from the bench saying he’s a sleazebag, he’s trying to taint the jury; he’s arrogant; he’s this, that and the other thing.
“It seems to me that the federal judge and the U.S. attorney’s office spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to prosecute and persecute this guy, they’re the ones who are tainting the jury pool.
“I just think that we’re letting a hero go down with a whimper, not even being allowed to defend himself. I think it’s really raw. It’s really low down.”
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