Who Is Ken Kurson? Trump-Pardoned Pal of Jared Kushner Charged With Cyberstalking

Ken Kurson, a friend and former associate of Jared Kushner, has been charged with allegedly cyberstalking his ex-wife and illegally accessing her communications.

Kurson is accused of eavesdropping and criminal trespass in 2015 and 2016. At that time, he was editor-in-chief of the New York Observer, which was then owned by Kushner, who is former President Donald Trump's son-in-law. The alleged crimes took place during Kurson's divorce.

Kurson previously faced federal charges in 2020 over allegedly cyberstalking three people. He was arrested but before the case could come to trial, he was pardoned by Trump in January, 2021.

The Manhattan DA's office alleges that Kurson used spyware in order to obtain his wife's passwords and access her Facebook and Gmail accounts.

He is also accused of illegally acquiring and anonymously sharing private Facebook messages.

Kurson was arraigned in a court in Manhattan on Wednesday and released on his own recognizance.

He was appointed editor-in-chief of the New York Observer by Kushner in 2013. As editor, Kurson oversaw the newspaper's move to end its print edition and drop "New York" from its title.

Following Trump's victory in the 2016 presidential election, Kushner transferred ownership of the Observer's parent company, Observer Media Group, into a family trust that allowed his brother-in-law Joseph Meyer to take up the role as publisher. Kurson stepped down as editor of the newspaper in May, 2017.

In 2018, Kurson was considered for a seat on the board of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The FBI performed a background check on him and uncovered allegations that he had harassed a doctor at New York's Mount Sinai hospital in 2015.

Kurson and his wife were in the process of getting divorced at the time and the doctor was a friend of theirs. The doctor was one of the three people Kurson was charged with harassing in 2020.

Kurson withdrew his name from consideration for the position at the National Endowment for the Humanities in June, 2018, citing the paperwork involved in the process.

When issuing the pardon for Kurson in January this year, the White House cited a letter reportedly written by Kurson's ex-wife in which she wrote that she wanted the FBI to drop the federal case against him.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement on Wednesday: "We will not accept presidential pardons as get-out-of-jail-free cards for the well-connected in New York."

"Mr. Kurson launched a campaign of cybercrime, manipulation, and abuse from his perch at the New York Observer, and now the people of New York will hold him accountable," Vance said.

Presidential pardons do not apply to criminal charges brought at the state or local level.

Newsweek has asked Ken Kurson's attorney for comment.

Ken Kurson (R) Pictured in 2014
Founder of DuJour Media Jason Binn (L) and editor of the New York Observer Ken Kurson attend DuJour Magazine's Jason Binn and Invicta Watches in the welcoming of Tony Robbins to New York at Catch NYC on November 17, 2014 in New York City. Kurson has been charged with cyberstalking his ex-wife. Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for DuJour