A former editor of the New York Observer is facing new felony charges for allegedly spying on his ex-wife, less than a year after he was pardoned on cyberstalking charges by President Trump.
Ken Kurson, a longtime associate of Jared Kushner and Rudy Giuliani, was arrested Wednesday afternoon on the state charges. According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Kurson installed spyware on his then wife’s computer to monitor her keystrokes and access her private accounts, then disseminated her private Facebook conversations.
“As alleged in the complaint, Mr. Kurson launched a campaign of cybercrime, manipulation, and abuse from his perch at the New York Observer,” Manhattan DA Cy Vance said in a statement. “We will not accept presidential pardons as get-out-of-jail-free cards for the well-connected in New York.”
The two charges — eavesdropping and computer trespass — each carry a maximum of four years in jail.
The alleged conduct was first unearthed as part of an FBI investigation, which began in 2018, after Trump listed Kurson as a possible pick to serve on the National Endowment for the Humanities. During a routine background check, federal investigators uncovered allegations of “diabolical” and “insane” conduct on the part of the Observer editor.
He was accused of harassing five separate individuals, including his ex-wife and a Mount Sinai Doctor who he blamed for his divorce. Prosecutors said that Kurson hacked into social media accounts, and used aliases — “Eddie Train” and “Jayden Wagner,” among them — to file false complaints to his victims’ employers.
Kurson has denied the charges. On January 20th 21st, Trump’s last day in office, Kurson received a presidential pardon. Shortly after, more women came forward with allegations of sexual harassment against Kurson; he has denied those claims as well.
Kurson previously served a speechwriter to Giuliani. In 2013, he was appointed by Jared Kushner to run the New York Observer, where he oversaw the paper’s rightward shift and attempts to smear Trump’s enemies. While leading the paper’s coverage of the 2016 presidential race, Kurson remained close with the Trump family, at one point writing a speech for the candidate.
An attorney for Kurson did not return a request for comment.