Bernie Kerik, who advised Giuliani after Trump’s 2020 election loss, meets with Jack Smith’s team
Aug 9, 2023, 7:07 AM
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
Former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik has met with investigators from special counsel Jack Smith’s team, a signal after last week’s indictment of former President Donald Trump that the probe into allegations he worked to overturn the results of the 2020 election is ongoing.
Kerik attorney Timothy Parlatore told The Associated Press that his client sat down on Monday with officials from the government for about five hours for a discussion centered around the efforts of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani to overturn Trump’s loss.
“Bernard Kerik sat with Special Counsel’s Office and told them the truth,” Parlatore said. “Whether people agree with it or not, and even if some of the claims have since been debunked, the unavoidable reality is that the Giuliani team was making a good faith effort to investigate claims of fraud at the time.”
Giuliani, the former major of New York City, had served as one of Trump’s attorneys and was among the unnamed co-conspirators mentioned in the indictment unsealed last week against Trump. Giuliani has not been charged.
Kerik, whom Giuliani appointed to serve as police commissioner in 2000, worked for Giuliani surrounding the efforts to overturn Trump’s loss.
“They were chasing these claims. They were limited by their time and resources, but ultimately the idea that Rudy Giuliani was intentionally pushing claims that he knew were false is not something supported by the evidence,” Parlatore told CNN, which first reported on the meeting.
Kerik was New York’s police commissioner during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Years later, he pleaded guilty to federal tax fraud and other charges and served three years in prison before his release in 2013.
Trump pardoned Kerik during a 2020 clemency blitz that also included former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Kerik was among the guests feting Trump after his first appearance in federal court in Florida in a case related to his handling of classified documents, attending the former president’s remarks at his Bedminster, New Jersey, club.
The meeting with Kerik, for which Smith was not present, comes as a sign that the government is continuing to hear from witnesses and seek testimony in the sprawling case.
Trump faces charges including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and obstruction of Congress in the first case that seeks to hold the Republican former president criminally responsible for his efforts to cling to power after his election loss to Democrat Joe Biden. Trump has denied any wrongdoing, and he claims that Smith is targeting him in an effort to hurt his 2024 White House campaign.
An attorney for Giuliani didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment Wednesday on the Kerik meeting. A spokesperson for Smith’s office declined to comment.
In July, Kerik posted to social media that he had been “subpoenaed several months ago” and gave Smith “the documents that I could,” saying that Parlatore held any possibly privileged documents until waivers were obtained from Trump.
“No one has flipped, no one is selling out Trump or Giuliani,” Kerik said then. “This is about giving the Special Counsel the evidence that the legal team collected under” Giuliani’s supervision “in the aftermath of the 2020 election relating to voter/election fraud, and improprieties in that election.”
Parlatore, who had been a key lawyer for Trump in the Justice Department’s documents probe, disclosed earlier this year that he was resigning from the Trump legal team, attributing the decision to strategy disagreements with a close adviser to the former president.
Trump was indicted in Smith’s documents probe three weeks after Parlatore’s departure. He faces 40 felony counts related to the mishandling and illegal retention of classified documents.
Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.