Newsmax has long been a defender of disgraced former New York City police chief Bernard Kerik, attempting to rehabilitate his reputation before his guilty plea and sentencing on corruption charges, even publishing a hagiographic article about Kerik that hid the true nature of the charges against him.
Despite the fact that Kerik is in prison, Newsmax is still defending him. In a June 1 column, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy cites the John Edwards trial on the issue of "selective, and often political, prosecutions," then quickly moves to Kerik:
At Newsmax we have talked about selective, and often political, prosecutions. Personally I don't like them when they are targeted against Democrats like Edwards or Republicans like former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik.
Kerik, if you recall, was thrown in prison for four years, despite an exemplary career of military and police service, because he failed to note an apartment renovation matter on his federal application for Homeland Security secretary, and failed to pay taxes on his domestic servant, the first time any official was charged for such an action. It was such a judicial over-reach, I believe it will deter many qualified candidates who might apply for high federal office. Who would want to take the risk of four years in jail for a tax oversight relating to domestic help?
In fact, the tax fraud charges towhich Kerik pleaded guilty stemmed in part from Mr. Kerik’s acceptance of $250,000 in renovations to his Bronx apartment, provided by a company accused of having ties to organized crime. Unpaid taxes for "domestic help" was merely the stated reason Kerik withdrew his nomination for homeland security secretary. Kerik was also accused of confidential information to the media.
One can also argue that the police chief of America's largest city should be held to a higher standard on such offenses, an idea that seems to elude Ruddy.
After further complaining about the alleged injustice faced by another conservative in the criminal justice system, Conrad Black, Ruddy ultimately comes off sounding rather un-conservative in complaining about "for-profit private prisons" that don't rehabilitate prisoners and supporting programs designed to cut recidivism:
Louisiana imprisons more of its people, per capita, than any other state. Prisons have become big business for both government and private firms across the country. The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world: 730 prisoners per 100,000 of its population, according to the International Center for Prison Studies. In China, the figure is 122 per 100,000; in Canada, 117; and in India, 30.
The sentencing system in the United States has created a prison industry and with it a permanent underclass — felons can’t get jobs, and many ex-cons wind up back in prison. And statistics show that incarceration rates unfairly strike African-Americans and other minorities.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has offered a sensible proposal for dealing with the problem, especially for nonviolent offenders. Last year he signed prisoner re-entry legislation designed to cut down on recidivism.
We need such outside-the-box thinking at both the state and federal level, from Republicans and Democrats, to not only improve the concept of “justice for all,” but also to help make our society stronger.
Very un-conservative indeed.