A newly-elected Manhattan judge cleared her path to the bench by falsely labeling her Democratic primary opponent an “abuser of women,” he claims in a $2.7 million lawsuit.
Betty Lugo, who won the June primary for civil court judge in Manhattan’s District 2 by 769 votes over Edward Irizarry, had a female underling file a bogus harassment complaint against him, he charges.
“I think it’s important to let voters know the truth, because they were misled,” Irizarry, 56, said in an interview.
The lawyer and former prosecutor claims he encountered Lugo campaign worker Ariana Zelaya on the Lower East Side on March 12 as she collected signatures for Lugo to get on the primary ballot. He said he “politely” refused to sign, and left.
On March 26, Zelaya claimed to 7th Precinct cops Irizarry had “alarmed” her by “repeatedly asked her questions,” according to a police report.
The NYPD said it closed the complaint.
Irizarry says he was unaware of it until two days before the June 22 primary, when the Lugo campaign circulated flyers comparing him to disgraced city and state officials Hiram Monserrate and Vito Lopez.
“Don’t be fooled. Don’t vote for abuser of women for judge in our community,” read the flyer.
Zelaya tweeted about the allegations, slamming the married father of one as a “deadbeat misogynist.”
“I was a prosecutor for many years, I would never do anything like they suggested,” he noted. “There were voters that were asking me about abuse.”
Lugo won the November general election with nearly 53 percent of the vote.
Irizarry is also suing campaign consultants Anne Strahle and Daniel Roskoff, who allegedly charged more than $10,000 for a mailing he hadn’t approved and threatened to circulate a “hit piece” on him if he didn’t pay the full bill, he claims in the Manhattan Supreme Court complaint.
“The Lugo camp conduct was outrageous, and the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct should investigate,” said Irizarry’s attorney, Eric Rothstein.
Zelaya, Lugo and Strahle didn’t respond to messages. Roskoff declined comment.
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