Who's Leaking Bernie Kerik's Phone Calls?

Newsweek reports on the apparent looming indictment against Bernie Kerik, using non-public, law enforcement records of his phone calls, showing that around the time he withdrew his nomination as Homeland Security chief, he spoke several times with his one-time girlfriend, former prison guard Jeanette Pinero, and with New Jersey businessman Frank DiTommaso.

Kerik was in the midst of a civil lawsuit by another prison guard who alleged Bernie passed him over for promotion because of the guard's disputes with Pinero. That suit was later recently tossed by the judge. Some details about the connection between Kerik and diTommaso are here.

Who would leak the phone records, which I assume are matters before the grand jury and secret under Rule 6(e)? I doubt it's Bernie's side. It's possible grand jury witnesses were shown the records during their testimony ....but I doubt they would have received a copy to take home and then turn over to Newsweek.


Why aren't any calls with former Westchester County D.A. Jeanine Pirro mentioned? She's been reported to be a subject of the probe. Did she get immunity to testify against Kerik? (I have no knowledge that's the case.)

For a blast from the past, and Bernie in his own words on his troubled HSA nomination, check out Tears of a Cop: "From an oval-office meeting to the front pages of the tabloids: Bernie Kerik talks about the perfect storm that wrecked his career."

Of course, all roads in this story lead back to Giuliani. Just another reason, in my opinion, he'll never become President.

All of TalkLeft's coverage of Bernie Kerik is available here.

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    I disagree with your opinion on Rudy the Thug - (none / 0) (#1)
    by scribe on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 12:14:26 PM EST
    he's getting stronger by the day because he's just the kind of authoritarian who makes the wingers wet themselves with glee.  Frankly, I think it's Rudy's campaign or even Bernie himself, to innoculate Rudy against his bad record.  But set that aside for a minute.

    Getting Kerik's phone records so they could be leaked would be no easy task, but I can think of three (pretty much lawful) ways right off the bat:
    (1) a subpoena by the plaintiff in the civil suit, on the phone company.  
    (2)  Through a public records request.  Depending on whether the phone he used was a state gov't issued phone or not and upon NYS law, the records of his calls may have been public records.  I recall a big interpartisan fight a number of years ago in a northeastern state, in which the out-of-power party alleged that the in-power folks were using their gov't issued cellphones to conduct political business, and sought the call records under that state's open public records law.  While the court came down somewhere in the middle on access (recognizing the inherent potential for political harassment), in the context of litigation alleging Bernie called his GF (or she him) on a gov't phone and plaintiff suffered for it, I'd see a strong argument in favor of granting the plaintiff's request.  Once out there in discovery, I don't think a protective order would work too well - too juicy.
    Similarly, it's pretty newsworthy, and the papers may have done a good job of reporting, themselves, resorting to the public records law.
    (3)  A clerk in the office that pays phone bills, made a copy and gave it to someone.  Assuming, again, it was a gov't paid phone.

    I strongly lean toward it being Rudy's camp, maybe with some help from loyalists in the NYC/NYS law enforcement world, seeking to vitiate the sting of all the crap Bernie pulled.  I would not put it past Bernie and Rudy to have a wink 'n' nod deal on getting it out early and Bernie taking a plea, in the hope/expectation of a pardon later.  The last thing Rudy needs is a full-blown federal criminal trial of his right-hand cop, sometime next summer.

    BTW - recognizing Newsweek says they're non-public (none / 0) (#2)
    by scribe on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 12:19:28 PM EST
    law enforcement records, Newsweek still could have gotten hold of them from legit (or semi-legit) sources and then confirmed the story.

    But, all in all, if the NYC/NYS law enforcement world wants a story out, it's going to get out regardless of Rule 6(e) or grand jury secrecy or anything else.  Ask Leona Helmsley, for starters.