Trump family friend Ken Kurson, pardoned by Trump, pleads guilty to cyberstalking

Kurson, a friend of Jared Kushner, is the ex-editor of the New York Observer.

February 16, 2022, 2:18 PM

Ken Kurson, the former editor of the New York Observer who was pardoned by then-President Donald Trump before he left office, pleaded guilty Wednesday to two state-level misdemeanors for allegedly spying on his former wife's computer.

Kurson, a friend of Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner who also helped manage Rudy Giuliani's unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2008, was arrested in 2020 on federal charges that alleged a "pattern of stalking and harassment against three victims," including one he blamed for the dissolution of his marriage, according to prosecutors.

He was pardoned by Trump in January 2021 but re-arrested on state charges in August.

On Wednesday he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors -- including attempted computer trespass -- that accused him of surreptitiously installing spyware on his ex-wife's computer from his work computer at the Observer in 2015.

"I believe we have a disposition today," Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Alona Katz said during an appearance in Manhattan criminal court.

If Kurson leads a "law-abiding life" for a year and performs 100 hours of community service, he can withdraw his plea and have the charges reduced to lesser violations, Katz said.

PHOTO: Ken Kurson leaves Manhattan criminal court in New York City after an appearance on Feb. 16, 2022.
Ken Kurson leaves Manhattan criminal court in New York City after an appearance on Feb. 16, 2022.
ABC News

"It is acceptable to him, your honor," defense attorney Marc Mukasey told the court.

Authorities learned of Kurson's alleged stalking in 2018 during a background check he underwent after Trump nominated him for a spot on the board of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

He was pardoned by Trump after his 2020 arrest, but seven months later then-Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance indicted him on state charges.

"We will not accept presidential pardons as get-out-of-jail-free cards for the well-connected in New York," Vance said in a statement at the time the charges were announced in August.

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