We can add Bernard Kerik to the list of names for whom Fox News played a conspicuous role in securing a pardon. Ironically, yesterday's pardon occurred a day after Kerik complained on Fox’s Tucker Carlson Tonight show that criminals in New York should receive harsher treatment.
Kerik was sentenced in 2010 and served three years in jail after pleading guilty to eight felonies. He was also a close associate of Rudy Giuliani.
From The New York Times:
The case against Mr. Kerik centered on charges that a New Jersey construction company, the Interstate Industrial Corporation, which was suspected of ties to organized crime, had paid for renovations at his home in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. Prosecutors said company officials had hoped Mr. Kerik would help them obtain a city license.
In June 2006, Mr. Kerik pleaded guilty in State Supreme Court in the Bronx to two misdemeanors tied to the renovation of his apartment. He paid $221,000 in fines and penalties but avoided any jail time.
In the more recent federal case, Mr. Kerik pleaded guilty to two counts of tax fraud, one count of making a false statement on a loan application and five counts of making false statements to the federal government while being vetted for senior posts. Judge Robinson ordered him to pay restitution of $187,931 to the Internal Revenue Service.
The Times notes that Fox's Geraldo Rivera was one of the supporters who sat behind Kerik during his sentencing.
Media Matters notes that Kerik has been a Fox News regular on Fox News and that the White House statement announcing Kerik's pardon specifically credited Rivera and Fox News' Andrew Napolitano among others who supported the decision.
The Daily Beast notes that Kerik has promoted Trump-friendly messages during his Fox News appearances:
Kerik has also been used as a Trump-friendly critic of the so-called “deep state” on Fox News airwaves, at one point advocating for the arrest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) for trying to carry out an “attempted coup” of Trump with the whistleblower complaint and impeachment inquiry.
In his Tucker Carlson Tonight appearance on February 17, Kerik, introduced as merely a "former New York City Police Commissioner,” complained New York State’s new bail reform law isn’t tough enough on criminals: “We've had people in the last six weeks since January 1st, we've had people arrested on rape charges let out, re-raped. We've had people arrested on felonies, let out, murdered. This is going on for the last six weeks,” Kerik griped.
Yet Kerik still has some ‘splaining to do about his own behavior. From The New York Times:
Mr. Kerik, a regular guest on Fox News programs, has more recently been in the news for his connection to Lawrence Ray, who is charged with extortion and the sex trafficking of his daughter’s classmates at Sarah Lawrence College. Mr. Ray was the best man at Mr. Kerik’s wedding in 1998.
Oh, and let’s not forget that when Kerik was under investigation, he was caught discussing a possibly illegal wiretap of Jeanine Pirro’s mob-tied husband to catch him cheating on her.
Not surprisingly, Pirro, whose now-ex husband was on retainer to Trump, thanked him on Twitter.
Thank you @realDonaldTrump for pardon of former NYPD Commissioner @BernardKerik and commutation of prison sentence of former Governor Rod Blagojevich. Political prosecutions have no place in this country.— Jeanine Pirro (@JudgeJeanine) February 18, 2020
You can watch Kerik complain New York is too soft on criminals below, from his February 17, 2020 appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight, via Media Matters.