PUTNAM COUNTY, N.Y. -- The Putnam County Legislators who unanimously approved paying for some of the settlement of a lawsuit against Sheriff Donald Smith were unaware a judge had ruled Smith was liable as an individual, not a county official.
Smith settled his lawsuit with former Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy, son of TV's Judge Judy after Smith apologized for saying Levy publicly interfered in his investigation of Levy's personal trainer Alexander Hossu for raping a 13-year-old girl and agreed to pay him $150,000.
Hossu was later charged and acquitted. Smith also said Hossu lived with Levy and that Levy should be investigated for harboring an illegal alien. Smith retracted those statements in a letter posted on the Putnam County Sheriff's Department website. Hossu is also suing the county.
Smith agreed to personally contribute $25,000 to settle the lawsuit, while the legislator voted to pay $125,000.
In 2013, Smith's lawyers argued Smith was eligible for immunity under state law because his actions were undertaken in his official capacity as sheriff. A judge denied the motion, which was upheld three times on appeal, according to LoHud .
Putnam Legislator Dino LoBue told LoHud they were not provided with all the facts when they voted to approve the settlement. The legislator approved the settlement at the advice of the county attorney and the county's insurance carrier, according to LoHud.
"Otherwise we never would’ve come to that decision," LoBue said in LoHud . "I think that’s what the problem is, that we weren’t informed.”
Adam Kleinberg, an attorney for Smith, said Smith was asked to financially participate in the settlement, which he agreed to.
Last month it was revealed Smith sent letters to various government officials, including Attorney General Eric Schneidermann and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, asking them to charge Levy with illegally housing an undocumented immigrant or to take over his criminal cases.
Smith had denied writing letters to law enforcement during court depositions
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