Kurson surrendered to authorities and made an initial court appearance Friday afternoon in the Eastern District of New York. His bail was set at $100,000.
Kurson has made multiple appearances at the White House during Trump’s time in office, posting photos of himself on social media from events he’s attended there. The Trump administration sought in 2018 to install him as a board member of the National Endowment for the Humanities, but he withdrew from consideration during his background check, the New York Times reported at the time.
In 2016, during Trump’s first presidential campaign, Kurson became the subject of controversy when it was revealed that, while he edited Kushner’s newspaper, the New York Observer, the two friends consulted with then-candidate Trump on a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Kushner has sought Kurson’s input in this election cycle as well.
The White House had no comment.
Kurson also has ties to Trump’s attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, with whom he has co-written a book.
His lawyer, Marc Mukasey, said in a statement that Kurson “is an honorable man, a loving dad, and a brilliant writer,” adding, “This case is hardly the stuff of a federal criminal prosecution.”
Mukasey is a former law partner of Giuliani’s and also represents the president.
Court papers portray Kurson as a person unraveling during a time of personal and family distress. His attempts to intimidate and annoy the alleged victims involved leaving negative reviews on the website Yelp.com using pseudonyms that the FBI eventually traced back to Kurson, according to the criminal complaint. He is also accused of taking photographs at the hospital and asking about the work schedule of one of the alleged victims, authorities said.
His online aliases — “Jayden has Wagner” and “Eddie Train” — were used to lodge bogus complaints with Mount Sinai about the doctors, authorities said. Kurson tracked and threatened the doctors, they allege, blaming one for causing his divorce.
“Kurson is alleged to have engaged in a disturbing pattern of retaliatory harassment that intimidated and alarmed several victims and their employer,” acting U.S. attorney Seth DuCharme said in a statement.
Kurson ran Kushner’s newspaper from 2013 to 2017 and now heads Sea of Reeds Media, according to his biography on the company’s website. He co-authored Giuliani’s book “Leadership,” which was published in 2002.