Judge Judy's son Adam Levy, a prosecutor, has sued a local sheriff for $5 million yesterday for alleging that Levy interfered with a child rape case.
Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy claims that county Sheriff Donald Smith is "an out-of-control sheriff who does not care about the truth."
He said Smith "maliciously attempted to destroy" his reputation.
The sheriff denied defaming Levy and said timing of the lawsuit was "blatantly political" and implied it was intended to damage his re-election campaign.
Levy filed the lawsuit in county court in suburban New York.
He named Smith as an individual, not as a county employee. His lawyer, Michael Sussman, said that should mean county taxpayers will not be liable.
The lawsuit stems from a child rape case against Levy's former personal trainer, Alexandru Hossu, whose case Levy says he recused himself from.
In the court papers, Levy calls him "a close personal friend" and a frequent house guest of his family in 2011 and 2012, but claims no role in the investigation.
But the sheriff tells a very different story, alleging that Levy had "ongoing and improper involvement" in the case and apparently was trying to influence it.
The sheriff in March issued a news release saying that if Levy "could have his own way, Mr. Hossu would never have been brought to justice for his crime."
Hossu, 35, an immigrant from Romania, is accused of raping a 13-year-old girl. He has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers have moved to dismiss the case.
At a news conference Wednesday, Levy would not say if he believes Hossu is guilty in the case. But he said he doesn't think he misjudged him.
Putnam County judges have recused themselves as well, so the case is being handled by a judge and prosecutors in neighboring Westchester County.
Levy and Smith are Republicans; the latter is running for re-election in November, and has hinted that this lawsuit is an attempt to damage that effort.
Levy's mother, "Judge Judy" Sheindlin, is a retired Family Court judge. Judy called her son "principled, honorable and dedicated" in a statement.
"His moral compass is dead center. When someone attacks his character professionally or personally they best be prepared to back it up — shut up — or pay up."