State Watch

Pardoned Kushner friend Ken Kurson agrees to plea deal

Ken Kurson, the friend of former President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner who was pardoned in January 2021, agreed to a plea deal on Wednesday for two misdemeanor charges.

Kurson, 53, was charged with eavesdropping and computer trespass by the Manhattan district attorney’s office in August, after authorities alleged that he used spyware to monitor his former wife’s online activity between September 2015 through March 2016.

He pleaded guilty to attempting the two offenses on Wednesday, according to The New York Times.

As part of the plea agreement, if Kurson takes part in community service for 100 hours and does not get arrested for a different crime for a year, he will be able to take back his guilty pleas and instead admit to second-degree harassment, according to the newspaper. That charge is a violation.

Wednesday’s plea agreement comes after Bloomberg News reported in October that Kurson was taking part in discussions regarding a plea deal on the cyberstalking allegations. He was accused of using spyware to retrieve the passwords of his ex-wife’s emails and social media accounts.

Trump pardoned Kurson hours before departing office in January 2021 for charges similar to the ones brought down in August. Federal prosecutors arrested him in October 2020 on charges of cyberstalking and harassment.

The charges were filed after Kurson was nominated to sit on the board of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2018, according to the Times. The harassment allegations surfaced in a routine background check, which sparked the federal indictment.

Kurson’s ex-wife reportedly took part in conversations regarding his plea deal, according to the Times, citing prosecutors. The Trump White House’s statement announcing Kunson’s pardon noted that his former wife “wrote on his behalf that she never wanted this investigation or arrest” and consistently asked the FBI to drop the matter.

State Supreme Court Judge Josh Hanshaft did not approve the plea agreement right away on Wednesday because he said he wanted to review the terms, according to the Times. Roughly an hour later, however, he accepted it.

The Hill reached out to Marc Mukasey, a lawyer for Kurson, for comment.

Former Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. (D) had been in office when state charges were brought against Kurson in August. Vance at the time said “we will not accept presidential pardons as get-out-of-jail-free cards for the well-connected in New York.”

Kurson served as editor-in-chief of The New York Observer between 2013 and 2017. Kushner previously owned the paper.

Tags Donald Trump Jared Kushner
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