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Democrat Brian Benjamin resigned as New York’s lieutenant governor Tuesday following struggling with federal expenses of bribery and other offenses in what prosecutors say was a classic “story of corruption.”
Federal authorities allege that Benjamin, 45, struck a corrupt deal with a true estate developer and directed a $50,000 point out grant to a nonprofit group the developer managed. In exchange, the developer funneled tens of 1000’s of bucks to Benjamin’s marketing campaign accounts for condition senate and for New York Metropolis comptroller.
“This is a basic story of corruption,” Damian Williams, the United States Lawyer for the Southern District of New York, explained Tuesday.
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“Taxpayer dollars for campaign contributions. Quid pro quo. This for that. That’s bribery, plain and straightforward.”
Benjamin, by way of his lawyers, has denied the expenses and pledged to show in court “why his actions were being laudable, not felony.”
“There has hardly ever been a federal circumstance like this in The us,” lawyers James D. Gatta and William J. Harrington explained in a assertion. “Brian supported a $50,000 grant to Good friends of Public College Harlem. Every single greenback was to invest in materials for community faculty college students in Harlem. There was almost nothing inappropriate about this grant.”
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Benjamin is facing a long checklist of prices: just one count of federal system bribery, which carries a utmost sentence of 10 many years in prison 1 depend of trustworthy solutions wire fraud, which carries a optimum sentence of 20 yrs one particular depend of conspiracy to dedicate all those offenses, which carries a greatest sentence of 5 several years in jail and two counts of falsification of records, each and every of which carries a optimum sentence of 20 several years in jail.
“These are really serious fees in the federal process,” Brett Tolman, the previous U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah explained to Fox News Electronic in an job interview Wednesday. “Two things that a large amount of folks really don’t know is there’s pretty couple of misdemeanors. So pretty much almost everything is a felony, as is the circumstance right here.”
“And you will find also no parole. So when you get a sentence … you’re heading to provide all of whatever your sentence is. Listed here you have the potential for lengthy sentences — decades and several years — in federal jail.”
Tolman, who is govt director of Suitable on Crime, said the expenses from Benjamin “outline a pay out-to-play scheme.”
Benjamin appeared in Manhattan federal courtroom Tuesday, where by he pleaded not responsible and was produced on $250,000 bail. The conditions of his launch connect with for his vacation to be restricted and bar him from returning to the point out capitol in Albany.
On Tuesday after his arrest, Benjamin resigned from his position as lieutenant governor.
“I have acknowledged Brian Benjamin’s resignation productive instantly. Although the authorized process plays out, it is clear to equally of us that he are not able to continue on to provide as lieutenant governor. New Yorkers have earned complete self esteem in their govt, and I will proceed doing work each day to supply for them,” Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul claimed in a assertion Tuesday afternoon.
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Hochul in September chose Benjamin, then a state lawmaker, to provide as her 2nd-in-command when she grew to become governor, taking above for Democrat Andrew Cuomo, who resigned amid sexual harassment allegations, which Cuomo has denied.
Hochul and Benjamin have been to appear on the ballot for the Democratic major election in June. It seems the Harlem politician’s title will probable remain as the deadline for withdrawing his candidacy passed in February, according to the New York Put up.
The Linked Push contributed to this report.