Ken Kurson and Jared Kushner attend The New York Observer Celebrates Robert Kurson’s New Book PIRATE HUNTERS at The Rusty Knot on June 15, 2015 in New York City.
J. Grassi | Patrick McMullan | Getty Images
Ken Kurson, a former New York newspaper editor and close friend of Trump White House senior advisor Jared Kushner, pleaded guilty to reduced misdemeanor charges Wednesday in a case where he was accused of cyberstalking his ex-wife.
Kurson’s plea in Manhattan Supreme Court comes more than a year after then-President Donald Trump pardoned the 53-year-old political consultant in a federal criminal case where he had been charged in late 2020 with cybercrimes against other individuals.
Under the plea deal, Kurson will be required to perform 100 hours of community service, with the expectation that the charges will be reduced to a violation in a year, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office told CNBC.
The New Jersey resident ran the newsroom of The New York Observer newspaper, now published online as Observer, when it was owned by Kushner, the wealthy scion of a New York real estate clan and the husband of Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump.
He also has worked as a consultant for people such as Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor, top federal prosecutor, and personal lawyer for Trump. Kurson helped run Giuliani’s failed 2008 presidential campaign.
Kurson was arrested in August on felony charges of eavesdropping and criminal trespass for having allegedly accessed his then-wife’s communications in 2015 and 2016 while working as editor-in-chief of Observer Media Group.
Prosecutors at the time said Kurson used spyware to obtain passwords and log into his wife’s Gmail and Facebook accounts, and also illegally acquired and anonymously shared private Facebook messages.
On Wednesday, Kurson pleaded guilty to attempting to commit both crimes with which he was originally charged. The attempt charges themselves are misdemeanors.
As part of his plea, Kurson agreed to perform 100 hours of community service at an organization subject to the approval of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
If he performs that work, and does not commit another crime in the meantime, the DA’s office said it will agree to him withdrawing his guilty plea, and replacing that with a harassment violation. That violation could never be sealed from public view, under the terms of that deal.
Assistant District Attorney Alona Katz told Judge Josh Hanshaft that the DA’s office reached the deal after extensive discussions with Kurson, as well as with his ex-wife’s lawyer, the prosecutor’s office said.
Katz also noted that six years had passed without Kurson committing another crime, and that he has taken steps to lower his chance of re-offending.
Kurson’s lawyer Marc Mukasey did not reply to a request for comment by CNBC.
Kurson had founded cryptocurrency and blockchain technology website Modern Consensus. He was on the board of cryptocurrency…
Read More: Ken Kurson, friend of Trump aide Jared Kushner, guilty in stalking