Former New York Police Department Commissioner Bernard Kerik revealed on Feb. 18 how he first learned President Trump was issuing him with a pardon for felony convictions that put him behind bars for three years.
Kerik, who served as the NYPDs top cop under Mayor Rudy Giuliani during his tenure from 2000 to 2001, told ABC News that he was in Florida on Tuesday when he received an unexpected call around 12 p.m., telling him to “standby for the president.”
“He got on the phone and [said], As Im talking to you Im signing a full presidential pardon on your behalf,'” Kerik said President Trump told him, adding, “This will expunge your record.'”
The former NYPD commissioner said he had heard rumors that Trump might pardon him but that he had always “blown them off.”
“He thanked me for my service, told me to move on with my life,” Kerik told the outlet, adding that the whole event had left him “pretty emotional, kind of stunned.”
The former police officer said he felt “great” about the pardon and that “a lot of people dont realize that with a federal conviction, you lose a lot of civil and constitutional rights. This president understands that,” he added.
Kerik, who was police commissioner during the Sept. 11 attacks, said he had “always had enormous respect for Donald Trump,” particularly following the devastating events of 9/11.
“He came down several times to the area and helped motivate the men and women who were working there. He sent people down there to help and donate.”
Army veteran Kerik pleaded guilty in 2009 to eight felonies, including tax fraud and lying to the White House while being vetted for the role of Homeland Security chief in 2004 under President George W. Bushs administration.
Prosecutors said that between 1999 and 2000, when Kerik was commissioner of the Corrections Department, he accepted more than $255,000 in renovations to his Bronx apartment from city contractors, in exchange for speaking to city officials on their behalf.
He was also charged for providing “false and misleading answers” related to this when questioned by White House officials after President George W. Bush nominated him for the Homeland Security job.
The former police officer said he had previously applied for a pardon with the Obama administration but never heard back. He was released from federal prison in 2013 on good behavior after serving three years.