A district attorney who is the son of TV's Judge Judy said Friday he has contributed to the defense of a child-rape suspect who is a close friend, although he recused himself from the case months ago.
Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy said he helped pay for Alexandru Hossu's lawyer when funds ran out and "no one else could come forward."
Hossu, a 35-year-old immigrant from Romania, is accused of raping a 13-year-old girl, the daughter of his former girlfriend. He has pleaded not guilty. Hossu is Levy's former personal trainer, and Levy has described him as a close friend and a frequent houseguest.
Levy's statement did not address any ethical issues involved. A publicist said the district attorney would not comment further. Levy said earlier that recusing himself and cooperating with the prosecution were his "ethical, moral and legal obligations."
The district attorney's office in neighboring Westchester County, which is prosecuting the case because Levy recused himself, would not comment.
The case has plagued Levy since Hossu's arrest in March. Soon after Levy recused himself, Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith, a fellow Republican but a political rival, said the district attorney was interfering in the prosecution.
"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," Smith said.
In August, Levy sued the sheriff for $5 million, claiming defamation. He called Smith "an out-of-control sheriff who does not care about the truth."
The sheriff denied defaming Levy. He also said the timing of the lawsuit was "blatantly political" and implied it was intended to damage his re-election campaign.
At the time, Levy's mother, Judy Sheindlin, a retired Family Court judge and the star of "Judge Judy," issued a statement calling her son "principled, honorable and dedicated."
Earlier this week, Levy's brother-in-law, Daniel Mentzer, stepped in to take over Hossu's defense because another lawyer withdrew. Levy said Thursday he supported that move.
Levy said Thursday he doubts Hossu had the capability to hurt a child.