The district attorney son of television’s “Judge Judy” stands accused of interfering with the child rape case of his live-in personal trainer.
While Putnam County, N.Y., District Attorney Adam Levy has recused himself from the case of Alexandru Hossu, local officials claim he is still involved in the investigation, the Associated Press reports.
"He is apparently trying to influence and affect the investigation, which could be perceived as an ethical violation of his official duties and perhaps even as an attempt to undermine it," local Sheriff Donald Smith said.
On Monday night, Levy issued a statement in which he categorically denied what he describes as the sheriff’s "unfounded allegations and misstatements."
"My office acted properly in every aspect of the investigation," he said.
Hossu, a 35-year-old personal trainer, stands accused of raping a 12-year-old girl twice in 2010. According to the sheriff, the girl, now 15, did not come forward with the allegations until recently. Hossu is due back in court on May 7, the AP reports.
In an initial news release, Smith listed Hossu’s address as Levy’s home, located 50 miles north of New York City. Soon after, he described Hossu as Levy’s “live-in personal trainer,” AP reports.
While Levy claimed that the sheriff had made a mistake, Smith’s office clarified that Hossu had indeed lived at the address, though they haven’t established a timeline.
Levy said he recused himself from the case as soon as he learned that Hossu, a family friend, was under investigation for rape. Smith countered that the decision was actually made by an assistant district attorney, and therefore was "was not really his original idea at all,” AP reports.
"In my view, Mr. Levy's comments and actions would seem to suggest that, if he could have his own way, Mr. Hossu would never have been brought to justice for his crime and Mr. Levy's relationship with him would never have been brought to the light of public scrutiny," said the sheriff.
He also claims that Levy is attempting to shift attention away "from what this case is really about: the vicious rape of a little girl by a man whom he housed and hired as his personal fitness trainer.”
According to AP, the sheriff’s office has also determined that Hossu, a Romanian immigrant, was living in the country illegally; his work visa expired 12 years ago. While Smith stopped short of implicating Levy, he has requested a federal investigation to determine if anyone "harbored, shielded, aided or abetted" Hossu’s alleged criminal activity. Levy claims to have had no knowledge of Hossu’s immigration status.
This isn’t the first time that Levy and the sheriff have clashed publicly. Previously, the two engaged in a series of public battles of over how the county should handle traffic tickets, the Associated Press reports. In addition, Levy recently issued a news release that disparaged the local sheriff’s office.
According to Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore, the district’s ongoing investigation “relates to the allegations of the forcible rape." Chalfen would not say whether will be interviewed.
Levy’s mother Judith Sheindlin, better known as “Judge Judy,” reportedly earns $45 million per year as the star of her ubiquitous court room television show. On Tuesday, Sheindlin addressed her son’s involvement in the case through a spokesperson.
"The sole focus of this story should be the investigation as to whether a young girl was the victim of a very serious crime," the statement read.