Adam Levy, Putnam County District Attorney and the son of TV’s Judge Judy, filed a defamation lawsuit against county Sheriff Donald Smith on Wednesday.
Smith had accused Levy in March of maintaining an “ongoing and improper involvement” in a legal case against Levy’s former personal trainer. The trainer, Alexandru Hossu, was charged with raping a young girl in 2010.
Hossu had stayed at Levy’s home off and on throughout 2011 and 2012, and in court papers, Levy calls Hossu “a close personal friend.”
Levy said he ended his involvement with the rape case when he found Hossu was the suspect.
Smith disagreed. He said: “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.”
Levy is suing Smith; he told the Journal News that Smith’s attempt to “disseminate a series of false and malicious statements designed to destroy something I have worked so hard to build is offensive to any fair-minded person.”
“Such conduct cannot be left unchallenged,” he concluded.
The sheriff told the News he could not comment until he had seen the lawsuit documents, but he did say, “I find the timing of this action blatantly political and intended to try to influence the outcome of an election.”
Smith is running for reelection in November.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.