The prosecutor son of TV’s Judge Judy sued the local Putnam County sheriff on Wednesday (Aug. 14) for $5 million for saying that the prosecutor had interfered in a child rape case.
Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy says county Sheriff Donald Smith is “an out-of-control sheriff who does not care about the truth,” the Associated Press reports. He claims Smith “maliciously attempted to destroy” his reputation.
Levy filed his lawsuit in county court in suburban New York, naming Smith as an individual and not a county employee. His lawyer, Michael Sussman, says this means that county tax payers shouldn’t be held liable.
The lawsuit stems from a child rape case held against Levy’s former personal trainer, Alexandru Hossu. In court papers, Levy called Hossu “a close personal friend” and frequent houseguest of his family’s in 2011 and 2012. In March of this year, Levy said he recused himself from the case as soon as he learned it was his friend under investigation.
Smith, however, alleged that Levy had “ongoing and improper involvement” in the case and was “apparently trying to influence and affect the investigation.” The sheriff, who is running for re-election in November, says the timing of the lawsuit is “blatantly political and intended to try to influence the outcome of an election.”
Levy’s mother, Judy Sheindlin (aka Judge Judy), issued a statement on Wednesday praising her son as “principled, honorable and dedicated.”
“His moral compass is dead center,” she added. “When someone attacks his character professionally or personally they best be prepared to back it up — shut up — or pay up.”