By Carol Tannenhauser
Lt. Governor Brian Benjamin, formerly a New York state senator from the Upper West Side, “surrendered early Tuesday morning to face a federal bribery conspiracy indictment in connection with a scheme to funnel fraudulent donations to a previous campaign, according to people with knowledge of the matter,” The New York Times first reported.
The indictment, the result of an investigation by the F.B.I. and the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, accused Mr. Benjamin of conspiring to direct state funds to a Harlem real estate investor in exchange for orchestrating thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions to Mr. Benjamin’s unsuccessful 2021 campaign for New York City comptroller, the people said. The investor was arrested on federal charges in November.
Apparently, the investor is talking. Wrote The Times, “…there were strong indications that the Harlem real estate investor who illegally assisted his campaign, Gerald Migdol, began providing information to investigators shortly after he was arrested on wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and other charges related to his role in the matter.”
Benjamin was first elected to the New York State Senate in a May 2017 special election. He represented New York’s 30th State Senate district, which includes Harlem, East Harlem, and the Upper West Side, from 2017 to 2021, when he was appointed Lt. Governor by Governor Kathy Hochul.
“Federal prosecutors and the F.B.I. were expected to announce the charges later on Tuesday, and Mr. Benjamin is scheduled to appear in United States District Court in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon,” The Times said.
Statement from Governor Kathy Hochul: “I have accepted Brian Benjamin’s resignation effective immediately. While the legal process plays out, it is clear to both of us that he cannot continue to serve as LG. New Yorkers deserve absolute confidence in their government…”
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