Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin of New York resigned on Tuesday after being arrested on charges related to a campaign finance fraud investigation, according to officials. Let’s see why did Brian Benjamin resign.
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Benjamin’s resignation, which took effect immediately.
“While the legal process plays out,” she said in a statement, “it is clear to both of us that he cannot continue to serve as Lieutenant Governor.” “New Yorkers deserve complete trust in their government, and I will work tirelessly every day to deliver for them.”
Benjamin surrendered to authorities and appeared before a federal judge in New York City, according to the Justice Department.
“Following today’s charges, Brian will resign as Lieutenant Governor and suspend his campaign.” “He will focus his efforts in court on explaining why his actions were laudable — not criminal,” Benjamin’s attorneys, James D. Gatta and William J. Harrington said in a statement Tuesday evening.
“He is looking forward to the conclusion of this case so that he can rededicate himself to public service,” they said.
Why did Brian Benjamin resign?
Benjamin’s arrest came after reports that federal prosecutors in Manhattan and the FBI were looking into whether he knowingly participated in a campaign finance fraud scheme. They were also investigating whether Benjamin, in exchange, could assist in the distribution of state funds to contributors and their projects.
According to the indictment, a Harlem real estate developer gave Benjamin campaign contributions in exchange for a $50,000 state grant for the developer’s business, but the money was never delivered.
The developer is accused of handing over two $10,000 personal checks in the names of relatives who did not share the developer’s surname. According to the indictment, the developer did it to conceal any links between him and the contributions.
The developer is also accused of writing Benjamin a third $5,000 check in the name of a limited liability company owned by the developer.
Benjamin strongly denies any wrongdoing.
“In America, there has never been a federal case like this.” “Brian supported a $50,000 grant to Friends of Public School Harlem,” according to his lawyers. “Every dollar was used to purchase supplies for Harlem public school students.” This grant was not inappropriate in any way.”
Benjamin was accused of bribery, honest services wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit those crimes.
“As alleged, Brian Benjamin used his authority as a New York state senator to secure a state-funded grant in exchange for contributions to his own political campaigns,” said the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams. “By doing so, Benjamin abused his position and effectively used state funds to fund his political campaigns.”
At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Williams stated that “public corruption erodes people’s confidence and faith in government” and that his office will always “uphold the rule of law.”
According to Jocelyn E. Strauber, commissioner of the city’s Interior Department, Benjamin betrayed the public trust by using his position of power to further his own interests.
The alleged scheme allegedly ran from around 2019 to 2021. According to the indictment, Benjamin covered his tracks by falsifying campaign donor forms, misleading municipal regulators, and “providing false information in vetting forms” he submitted.
According to NBC New York, things began to fall apart when Benjamin’s fundraiser, Gerald Migdol, was arrested in November. Migdol has been charged with wire fraud in connection with an alleged campaign fraud scheme linked to previous Benjamin fundraising.
Benjamin, who was appointed lieutenant governor by Hochul last year, has not publicly responded to the allegations.
When asked about the investigation previously, his office referred to a Nov. 19 statement issued after Migdol was arrested.
“Neither Lieutenant Governor Benjamin nor his campaign has been accused of any wrongdoing, and they are fully prepared to cooperate with authorities,” his office stated at the time. “As soon as the campaign realized that these contributions were improperly sourced, they donated them to the Campaign Finance Board by CFB guidance.”
Hochul’s office did not respond right away to a request for comment on Benjamin’s arrest.
I hope we have cleared all the doubts about why did Brian Benjamin resign!
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