On Tuesday, police arrested New York Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin on charges of alleged bribery and other offenses. Earlier, Benjamin resigned after learning of his indictment.
Federal prosecutors say that Benjamin hatched a scheme to get campaign contributions in exchange for state grants.
Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin Resigns Amid Bribery Scandal
In exchange for their contributions, Benjamin would help donors gain access to a $50,000 state grant. Also, the indictment said that Benjamin and his accomplices worked to “cover up” the plot. In particular, the politician engaged “in a series of lies and deception.”
Police arrested the now-former Lt. Gov. after he got served an indictment for bribery and other charges. Federal prosecutors accused Benjamin of participating in a scheme to secure donations from supporters.
Consequently, Benjamin immediately filed his resignation in light of the charges. Almost immediately, New York Governor Kathy Hochul accepted Benjamin’s resignation.
Resigned Tuesday, just hours after being indicted on bribery and fraud charges tied to an illegal campaign finance scheme.
“I have accepted Brian Benjamin’s resignation effective immediately,” Hochul announced in a statement. “While the legal process plays out, it is clear to both of us that he cannot continue to serve as lieutenant governor.
New Yorkers deserve absolute confidence in their government, and I will continue working every day to deliver for them.”
Brian Benjamin Carried Out Bribery During Stint As State Senator
Between 2019 and 2021, Brian Benjamin carried out the bribery scheme during his stints as New York State Senator and candidate for state comptroller.
At the time, Benjamin allegedly solicited campaign donations from and raised by a real estate developer. In exchange, Benjamin would appropriate state funds for the developer’s non-profit organization.
To hide the misdeeds, Benjamin allegedly falsified campaign donor forms. In 2021 while he was getting vetted for the lieutenant governor position, Brian Benjamin made a false statement.
Specifically, he said he never “directly exercised” his authority as an official “concerning a matter of a donor directly solicited.”
Brian Benjamin Faces Charges of Bribery, Conspiracy, Honest Services Wire Fraud, and Falsification of Records
As a result, Benjamin is now facing a host of charges. Apart from bribery, the former lieutenant governor is also facing conspiracy and honest services wire fraud.
He also faces at least one count of falsification of records. The various offenses carry maximum penalties between five to twenty years in prison.
In addition, prosecutors want to recover any funds back to state coffers. They are seeking forfeiture of the funds involved.
Alternatively, the prosecutors want Benjamin to give up “any other property…up to the value of the forfeitable property”. Damian Williams, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, will address the case soon.
Officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Department of Investigation will also help with the matter.
Watch the Fox 5 New York news video reporting that New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin resigns:
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