Bernie Kerik’s Legal Defense Fundraiser: “Like An Extended Giuliani Campaign Commercial.”

Last week, the Bernie Kerik Legal Defense Trust held a $75-a-plate-minimum beefsteak dinner in honor of the man himself.

First, a quick reminder of why the former New York City Police Commissioner needs the money:

Kerik became mired in muck in late 2004 after President Bush unsuccessfully nominated him to be Homeland Security Secretary. The national scrutiny helped to result in a 16-count indictment filed late last year, for charges that included lying to White House officials during the nomination process, accepting mob-tied money for renovations to his apartment, and tax fraud. Last Friday, federal prosecutors accused him of having embarked on a “crime spree.” His trial begins in January.

The beefsteak dinner fundraiser, which attracted 200 people to Kerik’s hometown of Paterson, NJ, was detailed by The New Yorker, which described “thick-necked” men tucking into their steaks. The program celebrated both Kerik’s Jersey roots and his now infamous New York career. It culminated in a fifteen minute long “soundtrack of strings and bagpipes…as a video of still images from the World Trade Center site played–like an extended Giuliani campaign commercial.”

And it looks like Kerik’s colorful personal life apparently hasn’t alienated some members of the religious community. The magazine reports:

“…Monsignor David Cassato, an N.Y.P.D. chaplain, had made the trip from Bensonhurst to offer a blessing. “Tonight, I was supposed to meet Cardinal Martino,” Cassato said. “He lives in Rome, and he’s very, very close to our Holy Father. I got a call and they said, ‘There’s this function going on for Bernie.’ I said, ‘I’m skipping the Cardinal and I’m coming.'”

Kerik ended the night with a speech met by a standing ovation.