Ken Kurson, pardoned by Trump. pleads guilty to new harassment charges

If he avoids arrest for a year and completes 100 hours of community service, his plea can be downgraded to harassment.

“The defendant must lead a law-abiding life,” Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Josh Hanshaft said as he accepted the guilty plea.

Kurson, 53, an author and political consultant who served as editor of the New York Observer, was indicted in August by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. He admitted to hacking into his then-wife’s computer in 2015, monitoring her emails and social media activities through a service called WebWatcher. Kurson also targeted a friend of his ex-wife who worked with her at summer camp, according to court documents.

Manhattan prosecutors took over the case after Trump granted Kurson a federal pardon, one of several the president granted to people with personal ties to him before he left office. The federal charges against Kurson also involved behavior from 2015 as he went through a contentious divorce.

“We will not accept presidential pardons as free prison passes for well-connected people in New York City,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (D) said last year. announcing Kurson’s case.

In November 2015, Kurson’s ex-spouse told police in South Orange, NJ, that he “terrorized her via email and social media, causing her problems at work and in her social life.” , according to an account of Kurson’s criminal court complaint.

It is not clear from the court documents what overlap, if any, in the alleged conduct exists between the state’s case and the dismissed federal charge. Kurson left the Lower Manhattan courthouse on Wednesday with his attorney Marc Mukasey. Both declined to speak to reporters.

Kurson was present at the White House during Trump’s tenure. The administration tried to make him a board member of the National Endowment for the Humanities, but he backed down when a background check revealed his past conduct, according to a New York Times report.

He co-wrote a book years ago with Rudolph W. Giuliani, a former New York mayor and federal prosecutor who has come under fire for his aggressive push against Trump’s false claims of voter fraud. Giuliani was also investigated by federal prosecutors in New York for a possible violation of a law that prohibits Americans from acting as agents of other countries without disclosing it.


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