• Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Bernie Kerik: Trump ally meets with special counsel investigators

Bernie Kerik: Trump ally meets with special counsel investigators





CNN
 — 

Donald Trump ally Bernie Kerik met Monday with special counsel Jack Smith’s investigators who are handling the probe related to the 2020 election aftermath and the January 6, 2021, insurrection.

The interview largely focused on what Trump’s former attorney Rudy Giuliani did to prove that Trump actually won the election, Kerik’s attorney told CNN.

Kerik’s and his attorney were spotted by CNN arriving Monday morning and leaving after roughly five hours. This is the first public sign of activity by the special counsel’s team after it filed landmark criminal charges against the former president last week.

Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner, is a longtime associate of Giuliani and coordinated with him during the contentious post-election period.

Trump was indicted last week in connection with the probe. He pleaded not guilty to all charges, including conspiring to obstruct the 2020 election certification and conspiring to deprive Americans of the right to have their votes accurately counted.

Giuliani is repeatedly mentioned in the indictment as a “co-conspirator” but hasn’t been charged with any crimes.

Kerik’s attorney Timothy Parlatore told CNN on Monday that Kerik told investigators about what Giuliani was doing in late 2020 to hunt down potential evidence of fraud that would show that Trump actually won a second term.

Kerik discussed “what the Giuliani team was doing” and “all the efforts they took at the time to take all the complaints of fraud, to see what they could do to chase them down,” Paraltore said. “Really kind of establishing that at that time, when they weren’t really able to necessarily establish proof, they had probable cause and they were pursuing investigation in good faith.”

Investigators also asked about the seven states that were the focus of Giuliani’s efforts, doing a deep dive on each state to understand the basis for making election fraud claims. Investigators went state by state, asking about each claim of fraud and what it was based on and who they talked to.

Monday marked first meeting with the special counsel team. Smith was not in the room during the closed-door interview, Parlatore said. The interview was conducted by three special counsel prosecutors and two FBI agents.

Last month, Kerik turned over a tranche of documents to investigators, largely pertaining to Giuliani’s quixotic search for voter fraud. The files included affidavits claiming there were widespread “irregularities,” shoddy statistical analyses supposedly revealing “fraudulent activities,” and opposition research about a senior employee from Dominion Voting Systems.

Asked if he thinks Giuliani will be charged by the special counsel, Parlatore told CNN, “No, not a chance.”

“The idea that Rudy Giuliani was intentionally pushing claims he knew were false is not something supported by the evidence,” Paraltore said. In the 45-page Trump indictment, prosecutors say the co-conspirator that CNN has identified as Giuliani “was willing to spread knowingly false claims.”

Giuliani has denied wrongdoing, and his lawyer has said the indictment against Trump “eviscerates the First Amendment.”

Years before Trump became president, Kerik was federally indicted and pleaded guilty to tax fraud and related financial crimes. He served three years in prison, was released in 2013, and received a full pardon from Trump in 2020.

This story has been updated with additional details.



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