Ken Kurson, the former editor of a New York newspaper that had been owned by his friend Jared Kushner, a top advisor to President Donald Trump, has been charged by federal prosecutors with stalking and harassing three people.
Kurson, a political consultant who is also a confidante of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, is accused of repeatedly visiting his victims at work, making false complaints with their employer and “malicious cyber activity,” the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s office.
The Maplewood, New Jersey, resident surrendered to authorities on Friday morning, and is due to appear in federal court in Brooklyn later Friday afternoon.
Kurson’s arrest comes two years after he withdrew his name from consideration for a Trump administration appointment to the board of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Kurson dropped out after the FBI uncovered evidence of the alleged harassment in a background check for that seat.
Kurson, 52, blamed one of the victims for splitting up his marriage, according to the criminal complaint unsealed Friday.
The complaint also says FBI agents found evidence that Kurson, between September 2015 and December 2015, Kurson accessed the email and social media accounts of other victims without their knowledge, and installed keystroke logging spyware on one victim’s computer.
There was also evidence that Kurson contacted victims’ employer to make claims that include a “false allegation of improper contact with a minor.”
He used the aliases “Jayden Wagner” and “Eddie Train” in making the false claims, the complaint said.
Prosecutors also said that “Kurson traveled on multiple occasions to the workplace of two of the victims, taking photographs and inquiring about one victim’s work schedule.”
An employer of two of the victims hired a security guard “as a result of Kurson’s conduct,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Kurson’s lawyer Marc Mukasey said, “Ken Kurson is an honorable man, a loving dad, and a brilliant writer. This case is hardly the stuff of a federal criminal sprosecution.”
“He will get past it,” Mukasey said.
Kurson previously served as editor-in-chief of The New York Observer, when that then-weekly newspaper was owned by Kushner, who is also Trump’s son-in-law. The news outlet now is published online under the name Observer.
While serving as the paper’s editor, Kurson advised then-presidential candidate Trump on a speech that he delivered to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in 2016. Kurson later sat in the Trump family box at the Republican National Convention that same year, The Times previously reported.
More recently, he founded a news website, Modern Consensus, which focuses on cryptocurrency and blockchain. Kurson serves on the board of the cryptocurrency company Ripple.
The complaint against Kurson comes two years after The New York Times reported that two doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York had accused him of harassment, and that the FBI was investigating their claims as part of their background check for the National Endowment for the Humanities board.
Kurson claimed to the Times that he withdrew from consideration for the board because of the amount of paperwork required for the process.
The Times reported that the time that the alleged harassment began in 2015, and “occurred while Mr. Kurson and his wife were on the verge of getting a divorce.”
“The doctor, who had been a longtime friend of the couple’s, told hospital officials that she was concerned about what she saw as Mr. Kurson’s angry, erratic behavior,” The Times said.
Kurson, who helped run Giluani’s 2008 presidential campaign, called the doctor a “very good friend” in a Times interview. “I wish her nothing but the best.”