Kushner Friend Pardoned by Trump Is in Plea Talks on Cyberstalking Charges
(Bloomberg) -- Former New York Observer editor-in-chief Ken Kurson, who was pardoned by Donald Trump over federal cyberstalking allegations, is now in plea discussions over state charges springing from the same conduct, a prosecutor said.
Assistant District Attorney Alex Wynne disclosed the talks at a hearing Friday in New York Criminal Court in Manhattan. Kurson’s lawyer Marc Mukasey told the court he consented to adjourn the case until Jan. 14 so plea negotiations could continue.
Kurson and Mukasey declined to comment after court.
Kurson was charged by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. in August with eavesdropping and computer trespass, both felonies that carry a maximum of four years in prison. He was previously charged by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn on similar charges, but in January Trump pardoned Kurson, a close friend of Trump’s son-in-law and former senior White House aide Jared Kushner. A president can pardon federal but not state crimes.
The New York prosecutors allege that from September 2015 to March 2016 Kurson installed spyware on a computer belonging to his ex-wife to get passwords to her accounts and then accessed and anonymously distributed private Facebook messages.
Kurson was arrested on the federal charges in October 2020 after the FBI said he had stalked one of his alleged victims out of anger over his divorce, accessing their email and social media accounts and installing spyware to monitor their keystrokes. He also used aliases to file false complaints or claims of misconduct against that person and two others with their employers and posted falsified Yelp reviews, according to the U.S.
The government learned of the alleged misconduct during a background check of Kurson after the Trump administration offered him a position with a federal agency, which the New York Times reported was the National Endowment for the Humanities. Kurson withdrew his name from consideration shortly afterward.
Kurson served as the top editor of the Observer from 2013 to 2017. Kushner bought the newspaper in 2006 and transferred ownership to a family trust after Trump became president in 2017.
The case is NY v. Kenneth Kurson, CR-18894-21NY, New York Criminal Court (Manhattan).
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