Scott Stringer Files Defamation Suit Against Harassment Accuser

Photo: Debra L Rothenberg/Shutterstock

Former city comptroller Scott Stringer is suing a woman who accused him of sexual assault last year, which upended his 2021 bid to be New York City mayor.

On Monday, Stringer filed a defamation suit against Jean Kim, a lobbyist, in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, claiming in court documents that Kim “has done irreparable harm to him and his political future by spreading vicious lies.”

“Kim has used her platform to attack his integrity, condemn him as a liar, and wage a multi-year political smear campaign,” the court filing reads. Stringer is seeking compensatory and punitive damages to be determined by the court.

Last year, Kim alleged that Stringer groped and kissed her without her consent when she worked as an unpaid intern on his campaign to be public advocate back in 2001. She called on him to resign as comptroller and to drop out of the mayor’s race. Stringer denied the allegations, saying that he and Kim were once in a consensual relationship and claiming she was a campaign volunteer, not an intern.

Despite his pushback, the accusations immediately had an impact. Stringer lost several key endorsements from fellow progressives and the New York Working Families Party, and several of his top competitors in the mayor’s race called on him to resign and expressed support for Kim. Ultimately, Stringer would come in fifth after initially polling in third prior to the claims against him.

Stringer appears to be attempting a way around New York’s one-year statute of limitations for defamation claims by alleging that Kim “republished” her claims via Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. It’s a tactic that is likely a stretch, per the New York Times, which first reported the suit.

In the court documents, Stringer says that Kim was seen at a campaign event for Maloney in August 2022, when she sought to challenge her colleague Congressman Jerry Nadler. At the time, Maloney criticized Nadler for his support of Stringer, which the former comptroller’s legal team is claiming amounts to reviving the statements.

“In the days leading up to the Maloney-Nadler primary and trailing by as much as 20 points in the polls, Maloney desperately sought to distinguish herself from Nadler. To do so, she weaponized Kim’s allegations against Mr. Stringer and used them to attack Nadler. And in so doing, she smeared Mr. Stringer and republished Kim’s false and defamatory allegations,” the filing reads.

Stringer Files Defamation Suit Against Harassment Accuser