Mayor Adams confident in Law Department’s move to hire lawyer Alex Spiro to aid in his sexual assault defense

Mayor Adams speaks about hiring of Alex Spiro
Mayor Eric Adams expressed confidence in the city Law Department’s decision this week to hire private attorney Alex Spiro to aid in his defense in a sexual assault lawsuit brought by a former NYPD colleague. Tuesday, April 9, 2024.
Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday said he is “confident” the city’s Law Department made the right call to hire celebrity lawyer Alex Spiro in aiding in his legal defense against a decades-old sexual assault claim against him.

Spiro’s hiring came to light in a Monday court filing, which noted that the barrister would serve as co-counsel in the case along with city Corporation Counsel Sylvia Hinds-Radix. Spiro, who has become well known for defending high-profile celebrity clients including Elon Musk, Jay-Z and Alec Baldwin, will also help represent the NYPD Transit Bureau, which is named as a co-defendant in the case.

In the suit, Adams’ former NYPD Transit Bureau colleague Lorna Beach-Mathura accuses him of sexually assaulting her in 1993 after she rejected his demands for oral sex in exchange for helping her secure a promotion. Specifically, Beach-Mathura accuses the mayor of placing her hand on his penis and then masturbating and ejaculating on her leg.

Beach-Mathura filed the suit in November; details of her accusations were released in court documents last month. Adams fiercely denies the allegations and has said he does not recall ever meeting Beach-Mathura.

At this weekly off-topic press briefing Tuesday, Mayor Adams said he stands behind Hinds-Radix’s decision to hire Spiro, while expressing faith in his legal team’s ability to fend off the suit.

“My confidence in the corp counsel is clear because they are making the decisions on how to defend something that I’ve made clear, it never happened, it’s not who I am, my character has been clear for over 40-something years and so they’re making the call,” Adams said, in response to a question from amNewYork Metro. 

“My job is to run the city,” he added. “You put yourself in the right team. I’m the quarterback and have an offensive line that is helping move the ball down the field. I trust my offensive line. And the corp counsel is making the decisions on this. And I trust the decision of the corp counsel.”

Adams refused to answer further questions about why the Law Department felt the need to hire Spiro, given the large number of attorneys the agency employs. He also declined to explain when exactly Spiro was hired and whether his retainment is a good use of city resources.

“The corp counsel made a decision, they are doing the defense,” the mayor said.

City taxpayers are footing the bill for both the Law Department’s and Spiro’s defense of the mayor. Hinds-Radix last month said she determined Adams was entitled to Law Department representation due to his being a transit cop at the time of the alleged incident.

A Law Department spokesperson said the city is paying Spiro $250 an hour for his services, and a rate of $175 an hour for the help of associates at his firm.

Spiro is a partner at the law firm Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan. His celebrity client list also includes rappers Megan Thee Stallion and Bobby Shmurda.