Mayor Eric Adams faces questions about high-profile attorney hired in harassment probe

WABC logo
Tuesday, April 9, 2024
New high-profile attorney for NYC mayor files response to sexual harassment lawsuit
CeFaan Kim has more on New York City Mayor Eric Adams' new high-profile attorney, Alex Spiro.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York City Mayor Eric Adams is adding high-powered attorney Alex Spiro to help defend him against a sexual harassment charge that the mayor denies.

The city Law Department is hiring Spiro to work on the case, according to a new public filing.

The allegation dated to Adams' time in the police department. A former NYPD aide alleged Adams harassed her in 1993 when they both worked for the transit bureau.

The defense will portray the allegation as "fiction," and move to get the case dismissed, sources familiar with the strategy told ABC News.

On Tuesday, the mayor addressed questions about Spiro and said he will leave allegations of inappropriate behavior to his attorneys to defend while he focuses on running the city.

"I have great attorneys, I am pleased with my attorneys, with what they are doing, the process is going to take its course," Adams said. "I sleep well at night with my little teddy bear because I follow the rules."

The city appears to be getting the high powered attorney at a bargain price. Spiro's client list has included Elon Musk, Jay-Z and Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

"I don't know how one becomes a celebrity lawyer, am I a celebrity mayor?" Adams said.

Attorney Arthur Schwartz has sued the city 800 times and several mayors. He says it's not unusual for corporation counsel to bring in outside attorneys and he believes it makes sense.

Most lawyers on the city's payroll lack the experience with the media in such a high-profile case.

Experts also point out this is a civil lawsuit and it's an individual suing Adams -- not an investigation by the DA, the Attorney General or the FBI.

"There is a separation between the mayor's office and corporation counsel just like we talk about the one between the president and the attorney general," Schwartz said. "The mayor didn't make the decision to do this."

In a statement, the law department says:

"In certain cases, the Law Department retains outside firms to provide assistance during litigation. We retained the firm of Quinn Emanuel to serve as co-counsel to assist us in representing the city and the mayor in this case to ensure the Law Department can maximize its existing resources on our numerous other matters."

Spiro is a partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. They did not respond to a request for comment.

RELATED | Mayor Eric Adams sued by woman who says he sexually assaulted her in 1993

Joe Torres has more on the sexual assault allegations against Mayor Eric Adams.


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More New York City news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.