Appeals court allows Scott Stringer to proceed with defamation case against sex assault accuser who surfaced during previous mayoral run

Scott Stringer speaks about sex assault case in 2021
Former city Comptroller and mayoral candidate Scott Stringer.
File Photo by Dean Moses

Scott Stringer, the former city comptroller, can move forward with his defamation case against the woman who accused him of sexual misconduct amid his failed 2021 mayoral run, a state appeals court ruled on Thursday.

In an unanimous decision on April 21, the state Appellate Division, First Department, overturned a lower court’s ruling last year tossing out Stringer’s defamation suit against his accuser: Jean Kim. The appellate court allowed Stringer’s case to proceed after he appealed the lower court’s decision last year.

The decision comes at a time when Stringer is exploring challenging Mayor Eric Adams in next year’s Democratic primary. Stringer came in fifth place to Adams in the 2021 primary after the allegations surfaced and torpedoed his chances at winning City Hall.

“We have maintained from the very beginning that these accusations against Mr. Stringer were lies,” Stringer’s attorney Milt Williams said, in a statement. “This ruling makes it clear that the court believes Mr. Stringer should have an opportunity to litigate his claims. We look forward to moving ahead with our case, and establishing in a court of law what we have been saying from the start: the defamatory accusations against Mr. Stringer are politically motivated falsehoods.”

The case was dismissed by a New York County Supreme Court judge last year on the grounds that it fell outside of the statute of limitations. But the appeals court found holes in that argument.

The legal saga stems from Kim’s 2021 allegations that Stringer, when he was an Assembly member on the Upper West Side, sexually abused her when she worked on his unsuccessful 2001 public advocate bid. The allegations were widely seen as the death knell for Stringer’s 2021 mayoral campaign, as it led many of his core supporters to quickly abandon him.

Specifically, Kim accused Stringer of unwanted kissing, repeated groping and of putting his hand down the back of her pants.

Stringer has consistently denied the allegations and filed the defamation suit, where he accused Kim in late 2022 of lying and causing “irreparable harm to him and his political future,” in a bid to vindicate himself. He has maintained he and Kim had a consensual relationship between two adults.

As for his current mayoral campaign, Stringer has been fundraising since January, when he launched a committee to explore a 2025 mayoral bid. He has been routinely sending out emails soliciting donations since then.

The former pol contends that Adams is leading the city down the “wrong path” and that his managerial experience as the one-time comptroller makes him the best fit for the job.

“I think we need a mayor who brings a unique leadership skills, plus a financial background that can deal with some of these issues,” Stringer told amNewYork Metro in January. “The reality is, crime is up and housing is down, education is flat. We need a mayor who knows how to invest in working people and middle class.”

The mayor is facing his own sexual assault allegations, which were detailed in a lawsuit filed by Lorna Beach-Mathura — who worked with him in the NYPD when he was a transit cop three decades ago. In the suit, Beach-Mathura accused Adams of demanding oral sex from her in exchange for his help with getting promoted within the NYPD. The alleged incident took place in 1993.

Adams fiercelly denies the allegations and says he does not recall ever meeting Beach-Mathura.