DOCUMENT: Investigation, Crime

Lawyers: Kerik Welshing On $200,000 Bill

Disgraced Giuliani crony ran up legal tab in federal criminal probe

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Lawyers: Kerik Welshing On $200,000 Bill

OCTOBER 31--Bernard Kerik, the disgraced former New York City police commissioner (and albatross around presidential aspirant Rudolph Giuliani's neck) is being sued for $200,000 by the law firm that recently angled to keep him from getting indicted on an assortment of federal felony charges. The 52-year-old Kerik owes Fulbright & Jaworski $202,384 in unpaid legal bills, according to a New York State Supreme Court complaint filed yesterday.

According to the lawsuit, a copy of which you'll find here, Kerik has ignored 'repeated demands' to pay his overdue six-figure bill, though his accountant did messenger Fulbright a check for $10,000 last month. However, the small payment was rejected by the firm since the check was, curiously, drawn on Kerik's business account.

Beginning in 2005, Fulbright represented Kerik individually, and not his firm, The Kerik Group, LLC. Led by ex-partner Kenneth Breen, Fulbright represented Kerik in connection with an ongoing federal grand jury probe that is widely expected to soon result in tax and conspiracy charges against the Big Apple's former top cop.

Kerik, once Giuliani's bodyguard, served as Judy to Rudy's Punch in the wake of the September 11 attacks. In December 2004, President George W. Bush, at Giuliani's urging, nominated Kerik as Department of Homeland Security secretary. That selection ended in disaster when Kerik withdrew his name from consideration, purportedly because he had previously failed to pay taxes on a nanny who may have had immigration issues. Since that debacle, the Republican presidential candidate has assiduously sought to distance himself from Kerik, with whom Giuliani was once a business partner.

Last June, Kerik pleaded guilty to a pair of misdemeanors for illegally accepting $165,000 in gifts while he was head of New York City's jail system. Though he avoided a prison term, Kerik was booked and fingerprinted like every other perp in the system. (5 pages)