The Best People: Kushner Pal Pardoned by Trump Pleads Guilty to Cyberstalking

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When Donald Trump was running for office 98,000 years ago, he boldly claimed that he would only surround himself with “the best people” as president. Obviously, things didn’t exactly pan out that way and instead, his inner circle was a who’s who of convicted and accused criminals, from disgraced national security adviser Mike Flynn (pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI) to senior adviser Steve Bannon (charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud) to longtime counselor Roger Stone (convicted of obstruction, making false statements, and witness tampering). Necessarily, that led to Trump issuing a whole bunch of pardons and commutations on his way out the door, many of which went to individuals a lot of people didn’t exactly think were deserving, including the aforementioned work pals, his son-in-law’s father, several health care executives who engaged in massive Medicare fraud, and a guy who just today pleaded guilty to cyberstalking.

Per ABC News:

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.

After being pardoned by Trump in January 2021, Kurson was arrested in August on state charges and the allegations were disturbing even for a friend of the Trump-Kushners (presidential pardons, of course, do not apply to state crimes). Prosecutors accused him of using spyware to break into his wife’s computer and run surveillance on her; Kurson allegedly used a program called WebWatcher, which let him monitor his wife’s keystrokes and obtain her Gmail and Facebook passwords. Incredibly, all of this came after the FBI started a standard background check into Kurson, who’d been nominated by Trump to sit on the board of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Not expecting to find anything of note, investigators learned of allegations he’d harassed several people who he’d apparently blamed for the breakdown of his marriage, including a Mount Sinai doctor who he allegedly bombarded with negative Yelp reviews, threatening emails, and calls to her office in which he insinuated she was having an affair. In August, then Manhattan district attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said, “We will not accept presidential pardons as get-out-of-jail-free cards for the well-connected in New York.”

After Kurson pleaded guilty on Wednesday, Manhattan assistant district attorney Alona Katz noted that if he leads a “law-abiding life” for the next 12 months and does 100 hours of community service, he will be able to withdraw his plea and the charges could be reduced to lesser violations. So that’s nice for him.

Biden flushes yet another attempted January 6 cover-up down the drain

The president has ordered the National Archives to hand the Trump White House visitor logs over to the House select committee. Per NBC News:

Former President Donald Trump was trying to block the release of the records, but White House counsel Dana Remus said in a letter to National Archivist David Ferriero on Tuesday that the president rejects Trump’s claim that the visitor logs from his time in office are subject to executive privilege. Remus said the records agency should hand over the documents in just over two weeks “in light of the urgency” of the committee’s investigation.

“The president has determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not in the best interests of the United States, and therefore is not justified, as to these records and portions of records,” Remus said in his letter, adding: “The records in question are entries in visitor logs showing appointment information for individuals who were processed to enter the White House complex, including on January 6, 2021.” The logs will now go to the committee on March 3, barring a court order, which we assume Trump’s lawyers are already trying to obtain.

For those of you wondering why said visitor logs weren’t already public, pat yourselves on the back for a great question. While other administrations—like Biden’s and before that, Barack Obama’s—turn over their logs on a monthly basis, the Trump administration famously kept most of its secret. Almost as though they knew they’d one day have something to hide!

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