Bernie Kerik: Pirro’s still on the air?

Former NYPD commish Bernie Kerik has, for the most part, ignored the coterie of reporters who have attended his appearances in federal court in White Plains. Queries are met with a polite “no comment” and the same non-plussed look that Kerik has carried since his first appearance on Nov. 9, 2007, after he was indicted on charges of public corruption, tax fraud, and lying to White House officials.

But today as his lawyers and federal prosecutors talked with a federal judge in the judge’s chambers about a separate federal grand jury investigation, Kerik ambled over to the rail between the defense table and the gallery rows and struck up a conversation with me that went from weather, to terrorism, to Jeanine Pirro’s TV show, “Judge Jeanine Pirro.”

Talking about the case of  Najibullah Zazi, the Afghan immigrant accused of being an al-Qaida operative who plotted to carry out terrorist attacks in New York City, Kerik wondered if al-Qaida might not be aping the tactics of the notorious Cali drug cartel. Kerik said the Cali cartel used to send their hit squad operatives in teams where each team would have no idea of the others’ existence or the mission until until their overseas handler told them to meet up. Kerik said if Zazi had been successful in carrying out any attacks the effect would be greater than 9/11 regardless of whether the attacks approached the scale of  9/11.

“It would shut us down,” he said.

News of the federal investigation of Kerik broke when Jeanine Pirro, the former Westchester district attorney, announced ahead of a news story that she was under investigation for allegedly conspiring with Kerik to illegally bug her husband Albert Pirro Jr.’s boat. Jeanine Pirro suspected her husband of carrying on an extramarital affair on the boat. Neither she nor Kerik were ever charged in connection with that incident.

But Kerik apparently has not been keeping tabs on his alleged co-conspirator.

“Is her show still on?” he asked when Pirro’s name was mentioned.

Yes, it is, Commissioner. Channel 5, 4 p.m., Monday thru Friday.

Another not guilty plea for Kerik

Already facing two federal criminal trials in White Plains, former NYPD Commish Bernie Kerik took the first steps toward a third trial by pleading not guilty today in Washington, D.C., to charges he lied to White House officials who were vetting him for the position of Secretary of Homeland Security. Pres. George Bush nominated him for the post in December 2004.

Kerik was indicted here in November 2007 on public corruption and tax fraud charges as well as the White House charges. But Judge Stephen C. Robinson has since ruled that the tax charges must be tried separately from the public corruption charges. And Kerik refused to waive jurisdiction on the D.C. charges. So one became three.

The federal investigation into Kerik came to light in September 2006 when former Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro announced that she was under federal investigation for allegedly trying to get Kerik to plant a listening bug on the boat of her husband, Albert Pirro Jr. Pirro suspected her husband was cheating on her.

No charges were ever filed regarding those allegations. Pirro was running for Attorney General at the time and said the leaking of the investigation  —  her announcement came shortly before WNBC News was to go on the air with a story about the probe —  was politically motivated.

Kerik’s first trial in White Plains is slated for October. His D.C. case has been put on hold until his White Plains trials are done. His next scheduled court appearance in Washington is Jan. 22.