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Thursday, May 28, 2009
Newsmax Kerik Rehabilitation Watch
Topic: Newsmax

Multiple indictments are a problem for most people. Not for Newsmax -- at least as far as Bernard Kerik is concerned.

As part of Newsmax continuing rehabiltation of Kerik, a May 26 article by Dave Eberhart aims to spin the most recent indictment of Kerik, for making false statements to White House officials, by painting Kerik as the innocent victim of overzealous prosecutors who "appear to be indictment shopping." In his spinning, Eberhart engages in numerous misleading claims.

He asserts that the most recent indictments, filed in Washington, D.C., were filed "after similar indictments had failed to stick in New York," asserting that the dismissal "apparently angered the federal prosecutors who decided to open up a new indictment against Kerik in Washington, including charging him with crimes already dismissed by Judge Robinson." But as we've noted, the charges dropped in New York by Robinson were done so specifically so they could be filed in Washington -- as other news outlets have reported. Eberhart describes this as "apparent federal forum shopping," even though the judge essentially told prosecutors to do exactly what they did -- as Newsmax itself reported on May 16.

Eberhart also asserts that "the judge overseeing the case has dismissed key charges and questioned the handling of the case by the Justice Department’s Southern District of New York office." But he makes things look better than they actually are by obfuscating the actual numbers involved. As we've noted, Kerik was originally indicted on 15 counts, of which one count and part of another have been dismissed by the judge. Plus, charges dropped earlier in May in New York were refiled in Washington, so that's not a net reduction of indictments.

Eberhart then claims that "the unusual handling of Kerik’s case by federal prosecutors has drawn parallels to the recent acquittal of Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. Stevens had been charged for not properly reporting renovations to his home residence." But contrary to the Stevens case, which was dismissed due to prosecutorial misconduct (not because he wasn't guilty), Eberhart has offered no evidence of prosecutorial misconduct in the Kerik case beyond comments from Kerik's attorney, and he's not exactly objective on the issue.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 AM EDT

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