Bernie Kerik’s farewell party last week, which included local Franklin Lakes’ celebrity Caroline Manzo, was a send off for the embattled former police commissioner prior to the start of his prison term. The story of Franklin Lakes resident Bernie Kerik is still to be written by Bernie Kerik, but sooner than that will be an article by former detective turned investigative reporter John Connolly.
The subject of the upcoming Vanity Fair piece will be ex-Kerik attorney Joe Tacopina who cooperated with federal investigators in their case against his client, Berni Kerik. Tapocina was not only Kerik’s defense attorney, but also a business partner in helping to establish Kerik’s consulting firm and in a failed investment opportunity. In a previous piece for Vanity Fair, Michael Shnayerson reported on an apparent betrayal by Tacopina with respect to sharing a fee with Kerik for finding an investor for another client:
“On October 5, 2007, Tacopina signed an agreement with the Follieri Group to receive $2.5 million as a finder’s fee for himself alone. Correspondence provided to Vanity Fair shows Kerik was in the dark about the terms of the deal for weeks afterward, asking Tacopina—his lawyer, after all—not to let Follieri double-cross him by denying him his half of the finder’s fee”
NYPDConfidential.com expanded on some of John Connolly’s previous reporting of the close Tacopin/Kerik relationship in October of 2008 with their headline “Bernie Kerik- Betrayed by Joe”. This article focused in on Kerik’s 2007 court motion to learn how federal agents turned his attorney against him:
“The concerns are heightened — not mitigated — by the fact that Mr. Tacopina was sufficiently concerned about being questioned by the government that he brought with him an attorney to represent his own — but not Mr. Kerik’s — interests, and that he was interviewed apparently without the compulsion of a grand jury subpoena and outside the structure of the grand jury so that there is no verbatim record of what transpired…”
While Kerik’s guilty pleas leave no doubt about wrong doing, the upcoming Vanity Fair article may shed light on tactics used by federal agents to elicit convictions. Rolling-over a defendant’s attorney, and Kerik’s sentencing beyond recommended guidelines, warrant consideration as to whether headlines or justice are the main goal of federal investigations. Big name federal targets, like NJ native Martha Stewart, naturally attract media attention, but questions remain as to whether some of those resources should be working to uncover more sinister characters like Bernie Madoff.
Kerik supporters have long held that the investigation and sentencing smacked of unfair treatment. The soon to be published Connolly piece may shed light on whether Tacopina breached attorney-client privilege, and why he so readily rolled-over on a person often described as a close friend.
Readers will have to wait a little longer for the Kerik story in his own words, but they can expect the story to continue in mainstream media a lot sooner.