During an interview I did this week for a profile on Tony Carbonetti, Rudy Giuliani’s senior political advisor talked about former police commissioner and Giuliani aide Bernard Kerik, who is expected to be indicted today on charges of tax fraud, corruption and conspiracy counts.
Here’s what Carbonetti said:
"Rudy accepts responsibility for it," said Carbonetti. "That being said, let’s move to my real thoughts on this, which are, how would we know? Everything he’s been accused of was personal to him."
"When you look at the allegations and issues he had in the past, none of that had to do with his work as police commissioner. It was all private to him. Him and his home."
I asked Carbonetti if the Kerik scandal reflected poorly on Giuliani’s judgment.
"That’s’ what I’m trying to get to," said Carbonetti. "Because you like to think you learned something every time. And you say, ‘OK. What did I learn in this?’ And I can’t point to something. What was my sign? I want to take something out of this knowing we might be in a position one day to appoint more people. And I’m saying ‘what did we miss?’ And it bothers me because I can’t come up with what I missed. But there’s got to be something, you say to yourself."
I asked if he or Giuliani had ever seen any signs to suggest something suspicious about Kerik.
"I’d never been to his apartment," Carbonetti said. "Rudy had never been to his apartment. We knew this guy as you know, a guy who as corrections commissioner kicked ass in the city jails, brought crime down 90 percent in the city prisons, and cut overtime by 40 percent. He shows up at City Hall, and he’s a big guy, he’s a stud, he’s kick ass, and you’re like ‘him!’"
Regarding the subsequent revelations about Kerik, Carbonetti reiterated that there was no way he or Giuliani could have known.
"How the hell am I going to know that," he said.