U.S. District Judge Stephen C. Robinson today sentenced Kerik to four years in prison on eight felonies, including lying to the White House and filing false taxes. The term, handed down in federal court in White Plains, N.Y., exceeded the 27 to 33 months the prosecution recommended under a plea agreement hammered out in November.
"I think it's fair to say that with great power comes great responsibility and great consequences," Robinson said, according to The New York Times. "I think the damage caused by Mr. Kerik is in some ways immeasurable."
Kerik is scheduled to report to prison May 17. The prosecution had asked in court papers that he be remanded immediately to prison after sentencing, citing concerns he might become a fugitive.
The tough sentence probably came as little surprise to at least some who had observed Kerik's legal problems with the judge.
In October, the judge temporarily jailed Kerik for violating a court order and leaking sealed information relating to his upcoming trial to generate public sympathy.
At the time, the judge showed little love for Kerik, describing him as a "toxic combination of self-minded focus and arrogance."
Today's sentencing capped a tragic downfall for a driven man who seemed to have had such a promising future despite all of his challenges, which included having an alcoholic father and a mother who was a prostitute.
Kerik was not without supporters in court today. During sentencing, the Times reported that backers included TV personality Geraldo Rivera.
Before Kerik's sentenced was pronounced, he said, according to The Associated Press: "Allow me to return to my wife and two little girls as soon as possible."
After sentencing, before Kerik stepped into a black SUV, he read a prepared statement, according to the Times:
"I'd like to apologize to the American people for the mistakes I've made and for which I have just accepted responsibility. As history is written, I can only hope that I will be judged for the 30 years of service I have given to this country and the city of New York. It has not and will not diminish my love for this country."
In November, Kerik, 54, pleaded guilty to two counts of tax fraud, one count of making a false statement on a loan application and five separate counts of making false statements to the federal government. Two of the charges related to statements Kerik made to the White House while the Bush administration was considering him to lead the Department of Homeland Security. He also agreed to pay restitution of $187,931.
Kerik admitted that he failed to report the $255,000 value of a renovation done free of charge by a New Jersey contractor that was trying to land a city license. He also admitted that he lied about the renovations and his relationship with the contractor, which had suspected mob ties, when he was being vetted for the Cabinet post of secretary of Homeland Security.
The whole ordeal has been a strain on his family. In his own sentencing memorandum, his lawyers noted that Kerik and his wife, Hala, have two daughters, ages 7 and 9, "who have suffered from psychological trauma because of the media attention to this case, and who have been subjected to taunting at school by chants such as 'your father is going to jail.'"
But the government had a far less sympathetic view when it filed its sentencing memorandum.
"The defendant's willingness to break the law repeatedly in order to lead a more lavish lifestyle -- by among other things, unlawfully accepting over $250,000 in apartment renovations from a contractor seeking to do business with the city, failing to declare on his tax return the lease value of a luxury BMW sedan that he had received as income for consulting services, crudely manufacturing large charitable deductions on his tax returns, and failing to identify to the IRS and pay payroll taxes for a full-time nanny for his children -- would be unconscionable in any case. Here it is especially so because the defendant was a law enforcement officer."