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Of all people, was Judge Judy's son pushing the limits of the law?
Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy, one of famed TV jurist Judith Sheindlin's five children, has been accused by the local sheriff's department of interfering in a child rape investigation because he had a personal connection to the suspect.
"The sole focus of this story should be the investigation as to whether a young girl was the victim of a very serious crime. Shifting that focus to celebrity does the justice system a grave disservice," Sheindlin said today in a statement to E! News.
Levy maintains that he acted appropriately—by immediately kicking the case to another DA—once he found out that his personal trainer, Alexendar Hossu, had been arrested last week and charged with raping a then-12-year-old girl.
"I have also said that I advised the Westchester DA's office that my family and I remain available to assist in their investigation in any way we can," Levy said in a statement released by his office Monday. "Despite Sheriff Smith's unfounded allegations and misstatements, the facts will show my office acted properly in every aspect of the investigation."
Levy's statement was in response to a lengthy missive from Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith, who (responding to initial remarks from Levy about his conduct) maintains that it was not the DA's decision to recuse his office from the case, that it was one of his assistant DAs who determined it would be inappropriate for them to continue, and that Levy is "apparently trying to influence and affect the investigation."
Hossu was Levy's live-in personal trainer, according to Smith, who says Levy first identified one address as the location Hossu was busted at, and then another—and then referred to both as Hossu's residence. Levy also criticized the sheriff's office's sex crime investigators, Smith continued, adding that he believes either Levy "or his minions" made inappropriate inquiries about the investigation.
"Those statements may be seen as further indications of Mr. Levy's ongoing and improper involvement in this case, as he continues to make official pronouncements concerning the facts of the case despite his acknowledged conflict of interest," Smith said.
"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 have never been brought to the light of public scrutiny."
Hossu, 35, was arrested March 20 on suspicion of two counts of rape in the first degree for allegedly assaulting the victim twice on Oct. 24, 2010, according to the Putnam County Sheriff's Department website. The release noted that "a conflict precluded the Putnam County DA's Office from involvement in the investigation.'