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Ken Kurson, a Trump Family Ally, is Arrested on Cyberstalking Charge

Two years in the past, the Trump administration supplied a seat on the board of the National Endowment for the Humanities to Ken Kurson, a detailed good friend of the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

As a part of the routine background examine for the place, the F.B.I. uncovered a swirl of harassment allegations towards Mr. Kurson over his divorce in 2015. He then withdrew from consideration, however the fallout from the nomination didn’t finish there.

On Friday, federal prosecutors charged Mr. Kurson with cyberstalking three folks and harassing two others, together with a good friend whom he blamed for the deterioration of his marriage.

Mr. Kurson’s stature inside the Trump household’s circle had been rising earlier than his nomination to the distinguished board. In 2013, when Mr. Kushner owned The New York Observer, the weekly newspaper, he appointed Mr. Kurson to be its editor in chief. While serving as editor, Mr. Kurson helped write a speech for President Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Mr. Kurson was additionally a longtime affiliate of Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s private lawyer, and helped handle his short-lived 2008 presidential marketing campaign. He now runs a media company and works within the cryptocurrency trade.

Credit…J Grassi/Patrick McMullan, through Getty Images

In an announcement on Friday, Marc L. Mukasey, Mr. Kurson’s lawyer, known as Mr. Kurson “an honorable man, a loving dad and a gifted writer.”

“The conduct alleged is hardly worthy of a federal criminal prosecution,” Mr. Mukasey mentioned. “Ken will get past it.”

Mr. Kurson’s accusers described his conduct as “diabolical” and “super scary,” in keeping with the felony grievance.

The good friend whom he blamed for his divorce works as a health care provider at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, in keeping with folks aware of the investigation, and had been associates with Mr. Kurson for greater than 20 years.

He focused her with a flood of destructive Yelp evaluations, threatening emails, nameless calls to her telephone and messages to Mount Sinai workers claiming she was having an affair together with her boss, prosecutors mentioned. To cowl his tracks, he used aliases like “Jayden Wagner” and “Eddie Train.”

The physician advised Mount Sinai that Mr. Kurson had used related ways towards one other lady who was later fired from her job consequently, the felony grievance mentioned. The lady filed a restraining order towards Mr. Kurson.

The lady is Mr. Kurson’s ex-wife, in keeping with folks aware of the investigation, although she just isn’t recognized by title within the grievance. The folks spoke on the situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t approved to debate an ongoing investigation.

The case is being dealt with by the general public corruption unit of the United States lawyer’s workplace in Brooklyn. In a court docket look on Friday carried out by telephone, a decide launched Mr. Kurson from custody pending trial. He didn’t must enter a plea.

The felony grievance lists 5 unnamed people as victims of Mr. Kurson’s harassment. They embody Mr. Kurson’s ex-wife, the Mount Sinai physician, her boss and her boss’s spouse on the time, folks aware of the investigation mentioned. The fifth particular person couldn’t be decided.

The F.B.I. has gathered proof that Mr. Kurson additionally put in software program on somebody’s pc to observe keystrokes, the grievance mentioned. He used aliases to contact that particular person’s employer to report false allegations of misconduct, in keeping with the grievance.

The felony investigation started after Mr. Kurson was nominated for a seat in 2018 on the humanities board, a federal physique that distributes grants to museums, libraries and different cultural establishments.

After the background examine turned up the allegations, Mr. Kurson withdrew from consideration for the publish, The New York Times reported in 2018.

Mr. Kurson had resigned as editor of The Observer the earlier yr. During his four-year tenure there, the newspaper endorsed Mr. Trump for president as Mr. Kurson suggested his marketing campaign. While enhancing the newspaper, Mr. Kurson sat within the Trump household field on the Republican National Convention.

Mr. Kurson had a deal to put in writing a e-book for HarperCollins, shadowing Mr. Kushner for an insider’s account of life within the White House. The deal was terminated after the harassment allegations surfaced in 2018, in keeping with an individual aware of the matter.

In 2018, Mr. Kurson created a web site known as Modern Consensus, which focuses on cryptocurrency and blockchain information. After leaving The Observer, he additionally joined the board of directors of Ripple, a cryptocurrency firm.

A consultant for Ripple didn’t reply to a request for remark.

The grievance mentioned that Mr. Kurson’s harassment marketing campaign appeared to start in 2015, when he emailed the Mount Sinai physician and accused her of pushing to separate up his household.

She replied: “Unfortunately, you have no one to blame but yourself. It is a bitter pill to swallow, but true.”

Mr. Kurson then focused the physician’s supervisor, the grievance mentioned. Using the alias “Eddie Train,” Mr. Kurson emailed the supervisor’s spouse claiming to be an worker at Mount Sinai. The electronic mail mentioned that her husband was having an affair with the feminine physician.

Mr. Kurson visited the hospital as soon as in late 2015 and requested for the physician, the grievance mentioned. He left after he was advised she was not accessible. He additionally hooked up images he took within the foyer in destructive Yelp evaluations concerning the physician that have been posted below an alias, prosecutors mentioned.

After the go to, the hospital employed safety personnel to protect the foyer and escort the physician, the grievance mentioned.

“This is a little scary that he was in the office and we don’t know who this person is,” an unnamed hospital worker wrote to the physician’s supervisor.

That identical month, the physician obtained harassing calls to her private cellphone, prosecutors mentioned. The caller would instantly hold up after she answered. She additionally obtained the calls on her house phone, which may solely take calls from telephones inside her house constructing.

At the time, she was dwelling within the Trump Park Avenue constructing on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, in keeping with folks aware of the investigation and public information. She filed a grievance with the Police Department.

In late 2015, the Mount Sinai physician knowledgeable the hospital that she can be relocating to a brand new house and mentioned her electronic mail had been hacked.

“I can’t hide forever,” she advised Mount Sinai, in keeping with the grievance. “I honestly have no idea what to do about this. I’ve never experienced or heard of anything so insane.”

William Okay. Rashbaum contributed reporting.

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