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Kerik gets 4 years on felony charges

From Julian Cummings and Chris Kokenes, CNN
Former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, here in October, pleaded guilty to tax fraud and six other felonies.
Former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, here in October, pleaded guilty to tax fraud and six other felonies.
  • NEW: Bernard Kerik tells reporters he wants to "apologize to the American people"
  • Ex-New York police commissioner pleaded guilty to lying to Bush officials, tax fraud
  • Kerik underwent vetting process to be homeland security secretary in 2004
  • Sentence from judge exceeds prosecutors' recommendation

White Plains, New York (CNN) -- Ex-New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik was sentenced to 48 months in prison Thursday after pleading guilty to charges of lying to Bush administration officials who vetted his unsuccessful 2004 nomination for homeland security secretary.

The sentence, handed down by U.S. District Judge Stephen Robinson, exceeded the 27- to 33-month prison term recommended by federal prosecutors.

"With great power comes great responsibility and comes great consequences," Robinson said in court.

Kerik, accompanied by his wife and son, addressed the court before his sentencing.

"I make no excuses," the former police commissioner said. "I take full responsibility for my actions. I have learned from this. I know I will be punished, but I only wish you would allow me return to my wife and two little girls as soon as possible."

Kerik, 54, pleaded guilty in November to tax fraud and six other felonies and has been under house arrest in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, since then.

He must surrender to authorities to begin his sentence by May 17.

After the sentencing, Kerik told reporters he wanted to "apologize to the American people for the mistakes I've made and for which I have just accepted responsibility."

Video: Ex-NYC top cop sentenced

"As history is written, I can only hope that I will be judged for the 30 years of service that I've given to this country and the city of New York," he said.

In court papers, prosecutors said Kerik denied to a White House official that there was "any possible concern" about his relationships with contractors involved in renovating an apartment of his or that he had any financial dealings with prospective city contractors.

Kerik had been scheduled to go to trial on a variety of corruption charges, including allegations that he received and concealed benefits of about $255,000 in renovations to his Riverdale, New York, apartment from a company seeking to do business with the city of New York. He pleaded guilty to that charge and several tax-related counts in November.

Kerik was New York police commissioner from 1998 to 2002, a tenure that included the September 11, 2001, attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center and killed more than 2,700 people.

He spent a brief stint in Iraq training the country's police force after the U.S. invasion in 2003, and President Bush nominated him to be homeland security secretary in 2004.

However, Kerik withdrew from consideration after allegations surfaced that he had employed a nanny with a murky immigration status.

In 2006, he pleaded guilty to accepting tens of thousands of dollars in gifts while he working as city corrections commissioner. Under his plea agreement, he paid $221,000 in fines and avoided jail time.

His admission dogged the 2008 presidential campaign of his longtime patron, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who said his endorsement of Kerik had been "a mistake."

Kerik made an unsuccessful appeal for clemency to Bush in 2008, according to court papers released in October.