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Kushner buddy Ken Kurson, pardoned by Trump, charged by Manhattan district legal professional

Ken Kurson and Jared Kushner attend The New York Observer Celebrates Robert Kurson’s New Guide PIRATE HUNTERS at The Rusty Knot on June 15, 2015 in New York Metropolis.

J. Grassi | Patrick McMullan | Getty Photographs

The Manhattan district legal professional charged Ken Kurson, a buddy and former affiliate of Jared Kushner, with cyberstalking his ex-wife on Wednesday, months after he acquired a pardon from then-President Donald Trump for alleged cybercrimes towards different people.

Kurson, 52, is charged with eavesdropping and felony trespass for allegedly illegally accessing his then-wife’s communications in 2015 and 2016 whereas working as editor-in-chief of Observer Media Group, which on the time was owned by Kushner.

Manhattan District Lawyer Cyrus Vance Jr.’s workplace mentioned Kurson used adware to acquire passwords and log into his spouse’s Gmail and Fb accounts.

Prosecutors say he additionally illegally acquired and anonymously shared personal Fb messages.

Vance’s workplace can also be persevering with a felony investigation of Trump’s firm, the Trump Group. Vance charged the corporate and its chief monetary officer Allen Weisselberg earlier this summer season with a years-long scheme to keep away from paying taxes on govt compensation. The corporate and the CFO have pleaded not responsible.

Kurson, who lives in New Jersey, was arraigned in Manhattan court docket Wednesday afternoon and launched on his personal recognizance. His lawyer Marc Mukasey didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Federal prosecutors final 12 months hit Kurson with comparable costs associated to the alleged cyberstalking of three folks. His first arrest got here two years after he withdrew his identify from consideration for a Trump administration appointment to the board of the Nationwide Endowment for the Humanities.

The 2020 felony grievance in a footnote says that along with the three victims in that case, “FBI Particular Brokers have additionally obtained proof revealing that Kurson engaged in an identical sample of harassment in relation to his divorce proceedings towards different people between roughly September 2015 and December 2015.”

That then-uncharged conduct allegedly included “accessing e mail accounts and social media accounts with out their information or authorization; putting in software program on one particular person’s laptop to observe that particular person’s keystrokes and web site utilization with out his/her information or authorization.”

Earlier than that federal case might go to trial, Trump pardoned Kurson in January on his manner out of the White Home. Kushner is Trump’s son-in-law and served as a senior advisor within the White Home.

After the pardon

Presidential pardons don’t apply to state or native costs.

“We is not going to settle for presidential pardons as get-out-of-jail-free playing cards for the well-connected in New York,” Vance mentioned in an announcement Wednesday.

“Mr. Kurson launched a marketing campaign of cybercrime, manipulation, and abuse from his perch on the New York Observer, and now the folks of New York will maintain him accountable,” Vance mentioned. The Observer is the newspaper that Kurson ran for Kushner.

Vance was beforehand thwarted in efforts to prosecute Trump’s 2016 marketing campaign chief Paul Manafort for monetary crimes. A state decide dominated that case was barred by double jeopardy protections, since Manafort had been beforehand prosecuted by federal authorities for conduct that overlapped what Vance was alleging in a state felony case.

However Vance’s allegations towards Kurson differ from particulars of allegations made final 12 months by federal prosecutors. Vance’s case additionally may keep away from the double jeopardy ruling as a result of Kurson’s felony case by no means went to trial.

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Final 12 months, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn charged Kurson with stalking and harassing three folks.

The U.S. Lawyer for the Jap District of New York centered on actions together with false complaints filed to 2 of the victims’ employers and a false destructive evaluate about one of many victims posted on Yelp.

In 2018, The New York Instances famous that the FBI had investigated allegations that Kurson harassed a physician at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. The physician was a long-time buddy of Kurson and his then-wife, who had been getting divorced on the time.

Kurson informed The Instances that 12 months that the physician was “an excellent buddy” and mentioned, “I want her nothing however the most effective.”

“After all when {couples} divorce, feelings run excessive. Fortunately all the things labored out very nicely for my ex-wife and my children, and I contemplate this chapter lengthy closed from three years in the past,” Kurson informed The Instances.

When Kurson in 2020 was prosecuted in reference to the alleged harassment of the physician and the opposite two folks, his lawyer Mukasey informed CNBC, “Ken Kurson is an honorable man, a loving dad, and an excellent author. This case is hardly the stuff of a federal felony prosecution.”
“He’ll get previous it,” Mukasey mentioned at the moment.

The Justice Division in July rejected a request by CNBC for the letter Kurson’s ex-wife wrote asking for the federal felony case to be dismissed towards him.

The White Home cited that letter on the time that Trump pardoned Kurson.

In that letter, Kurson’s ex-wife allegedly wrote that “she by no means wished this investigation or arrest and, ‘repeatedly requested for the FBI to drop it … I employed a lawyer to guard me from being pressured into yet one more spherical of questioning. My disgust with this arrest and the following articles is bottomless,’ ” the Trump White Home claimed in its pardon assertion.

“This investigation solely started as a result of Mr. Kurson was nominated to a job throughout the Trump Administration,” Kurson’s ex-wife purportedly wrote, based on the Trump White Home.

Historical past of accusations

In March 2018, the writer Deborah Copaken wrote an article about Kurson in The Atlantic entitled “How you can Lose Your Job from Sexual Harassment in 33 Simple Steps.”

Copaken wrote that in a job interview on the Observer, Kurson commented about watching her breasts.

Copaken additionally wrote that after she started writing articles for the newspaper, Kurson despatched an e mail that mentioned, “How come you by no means requested me out?”

The New York Instances later in 2018 reported that Copaken was contacted by somebody who informed her about Kurson’s alleged harassment of staffers at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Copaken informed The Instances that FBI brokers interviewed her in June 2018 as a part of a background investigation associated to Kurson’s would-be appointment to the Nationwide Endowment for the Humanities board.

When requested about Kurson’s new felony case, Copaken informed CNBC on Wednesday, “I am simply studying about these new costs, so I do not know the small print aside from what I have been in a position to glean from early information studies, however after I learn the information I immediately felt a way of shoulder-dropping aid.”

“Perhaps justice will, ultimately, prevail,” Copaken mentioned. “Perhaps presidential pardons can have guardrails round them sooner or later. And possibly now I can lastly take away that good man who’s a safety knowledgeable from my pace dial.”

Whereas working because the editor of the Observer, Kurson suggested then-presidential candidate Trump on a speech he gave to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in 2016. He sat within the Trump household field on the Republican Nationwide Conference later that 12 months.

Kurson extra just lately based cryptocurrency and blockchain expertise web site Fashionable Consensus. He was on the board of cryptocurrency firm Ripple as just lately as final 12 months.

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