USMagazine, Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 11:30am (PDT)
Judge Judy is hoping that justice will prevail in the ongoing war of words between her son, New York's Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy, and the local sheriff in charge of a recent child rape case.
According to Sheriff Donald Smith, Levy has been trying to "influence and affect" the investigation into the alleged rape of a now-15-year-old girl by Levy's personal trainer, Alexandru Hossu.
Hossu, 35, was arrested last week after the girl stepped forward and accused the Romania-born trainer of twice raping her back in 2010, when she was just 12 years old. Smith claimed that Levy's close ties to Hossu -- the DA reportedly housed Hossu in the past -- were complicating the case.
"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," Smith told the Associated Press.
But Levy and his famous mother Judy Sheindlin, who earns a reported $45 million a year as Judge Judy on her courtroom TV show, deny his intent to influence the case in any such way.
"The sole focus of this story should be the investigation as to whether a young girl was the victim of a very serious crime," Sheindlin told Us Weekly in a statement. "Shifting that focus to celebrity does the justice system a grave disservice."
Levy told the AP that he purposely recused himself from the case because he knew his closeness to Hossu would be an issue (his family had known the trainer "for years," he said). Smith countered that it was an assistant district attorney, not Levy himself, who had made the decision, and "it was not really his original idea at all."
Still, Levy, who has butted heads with Smith before on unrelated court issues, is adamant that he did nothing wrong.
"My office acted properly in every aspect of the investigation," he told the AP.