Donald Trump

Jared Kushner Confidant Ken Kurson in Plea Negotiations With Prosecutors in Cyberstalking Case, Filing Says

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  • Ken Kurson, a confidant of President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, is in plea negotiations with federal prosecutors who last month charged him with cyberstalking three people, a court filing indicates.
  • Kurson, who was editor of the New York Observer newspaper when Kushner owned it, is accused of repeatedly visiting his victims at work, making false complaints with their employers and "malicious cyber activity."
  • The complaint says Kurson blamed one victim, with whom he had been friends for more than two decades, "for the dissolution of his marriage."

Ken Kurson, a confidant of President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, is in plea negotiations with federal prosecutors who last month charged him with cyberstalking three people, a court filing Friday indicated.

In a joint filing by the political consultant Kurson, his lawyer, and prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York, federal court, the parties cited those plea talks as they asked a judge to extend the deadline for the filing of either an indictment or another type of charging document typically used when a defendant has agreed to plead guilty.

"They are engaged in plea negotiations, which they believe are likely to result in a disposition of this case without trial," the filing said.

However, it is possible that the case could be resolved without a guilty plea by Kurson, who is free on $100,000 bond, either because he opts to go to trial, or because he would be allowed to participate in a pretrial diversion program, such as anger management.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Ramon Reyes agreed to the request, which extends the filing deadline from Dec. 4 to Feb. 4.

Marc Mukasey, Kurson's defense lawyer, declined to comment, as did John Marzulli, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York.

Kurson, who was editor of the New York Observer newspaper when Kushner owned it, is accused of repeatedly visiting his victims at work, making false complaints with their employers and "malicious cyber activity."

While he was editor, Kurson advised the then-presidential candidate Trump for 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 year.

More recently, he founded a news website, Modern Consensus, which focuses on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. He also serves on the board of the cryptocurrency company Ripple.

The Maplewood, New Jersey, resident, was arrested on a criminal complaint in October, two years after he withdrew his name from consideration for a Trump administration appointment to the board of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The New York Times reported in July 2018 that two doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York accused Kurson of harassment and that the FBI was notified about their claims as the agency conducted a background check of Kurson for the board seat. The background check led directly to the criminal complaint against him.

The complaint says Kurson blamed one victim, with whom he had been friends for more than two decades, "for the dissolution of his marriage."

The second victim was a co-worker and supervisor of the first victim. The third victim was married to the second victim and worked for a news publication, the complaint says.

The complaint also says FBI agents found evidence that between September 2015 and December 2015, Kurson accessed the email and social media accounts of two of the victims without their knowledge and installed keystroke logging spyware on one victim's computer.

There was also evidence that Kurson contacted victims' employers to make claims that include a "false allegation of improper contact with a minor," according to the complaint.

He used the aliases "Jayden Wagner" and "Eddie Train" in making the false claims, the complaint said.

It also said that in his 2018 questionnaire for a background check by the FBI for his would-be board appointment, "Kurson made multiple false statements and misrepresentations, including falsely certifying that he had never used any other names or aliases." It is a federal crime to lie on such a questionnaire.

At the time of Kurson's arrest, his lawyer 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 prosecution."

"He will get past it," Mukasey said.

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