A New York State senator is calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to appoint a special prosecutor in a case of alleged child rape in Putnam County. The call comes in light of media reports that allege the Putnam County district attorney has been active in the case — after recusing himself.
Republican State Senator Greg Ball Monday wrote to Governor Cuomo, requesting that his office appoint an independent, special prosecutor, quote “to fully investigate the current legal fiasco in Putnam County.”
It is in Putnam County government where a war of words, often through issued statements, erupted between Sheriff Donald Smith and District Attorney Adam Levy, stemming from the arrest in March of Levy’s friend and former personal trainer Alexander Hossu for the alleged rape of a girl in Southeast. From the beginning, Smith and Levy have differed on facts relating to the case, including how Levy came to recuse himself from the case in the first place, handing over the case to the Westchester County district attorney. Ball wants Levy - the son of TV’s Judge Judy Scheindlin - to join him in calling for a special, independent prosecutor, or resign.
Ball says those reports have been in the local newspaper, The Journal News. Other media, including The New York Times, report that Levy has acknowledged that he contributed money toward Hossu’s legal expenses. A spokesman for Governor Cuomo says the governor’s office is reviewing the request.
A call to Levy’s office was referred to Levy’s public relations firm in Manhattan – Sheinkopf, Inc. Hank Sheinkopf issued the following statement which reads, in part, quote, “It’s no surprise that Greg Ball has once again come to the aid of his political crony Don Smith. That said, Mr. Ball is entitled to his opinion, but he is basing too much of it on what he reads in the newspaper and not enough on the facts. Mr. Levy’s conduct in this matter has been entirely ethical, and he welcomes any inquiry into his actions because he knows he will ultimately be vindicated.” End quote.
Several media reports say Levy has described Hossu as a frequent overnight guest, and the rape charges allegedly involve the daughter of Hossu’s former girlfriend.
Levy’s spokesman adds that Levy is confident that Putnam County voters will understand the courage it takes to stand up for a friend and to fight back against dishonesty in the criminal justice system. Levy filed a $5 million defamation suit over the summer against Smith.