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Democrat Brian Benjamin resigned as New York’s lieutenant governor Tuesday following struggling with federal fees 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 authentic estate developer and directed a $50,000 state grant to a nonprofit corporation the developer controlled. In exchange, the developer funneled tens of 1000’s of bucks to Benjamin’s campaign accounts for point out senate and for New York Metropolis comptroller.
“This is a very simple story of corruption,” Damian Williams, the United States Lawyer for the Southern District of New York, reported Tuesday.
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“Taxpayer dollars for marketing campaign contributions. Quid pro quo. This for that. That is bribery, basic and straightforward.”
Benjamin, by way of his lawyers, has denied the charges and pledged to establish in court “why his actions had been laudable, not legal.”
“There has in no way been a federal circumstance like this in America,” attorneys James D. Gatta and William J. Harrington claimed in a statement. “Brian supported a $50,000 grant to Close friends of General public College Harlem. Each dollar was to get materials for community faculty students in Harlem. There was absolutely nothing inappropriate about this grant.”
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Benjamin is struggling with a prolonged record of prices: just one rely of federal software bribery, which carries a optimum sentence of 10 many years in prison a person depend of straightforward products and services wire fraud, which carries a utmost sentence of 20 years just one rely of conspiracy to commit people offenses, which carries a optimum sentence of 5 decades in jail and two counts of falsification of documents, every single of which carries a greatest sentence of 20 yrs in prison.
“These are major expenses in the federal procedure,” Brett Tolman, the former U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah explained to Fox Information Electronic in an interview Wednesday. “Two points that a good deal of people don’t know is there’s pretty number of misdemeanors. So just about all the things is a felony, as is the scenario right here.”
“And you can find also no parole. So when you get a sentence … you might be heading to provide all of what ever your sentence is. In this article you have the possible for prolonged sentences — many years and many years — in federal jail.”
Tolman, who is govt director of Ideal on Criminal offense, said the expenses from Benjamin “outline a spend-to-play scheme.”
Benjamin appeared in Manhattan federal court Tuesday, where he pleaded not responsible and was released on $250,000 bail. The phrases of his launch contact for his journey to be limited and bar him from returning to the point out capitol in Albany.
On Tuesday following his arrest, Benjamin resigned from his place as lieutenant governor.
“I have accepted Brian Benjamin’s resignation powerful immediately. Even though the legal approach performs out, it is clear to equally of us that he cannot proceed to serve as lieutenant governor. New Yorkers ought to have complete self-assurance in their governing administration, and I will go on working every day to supply for them,” Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul explained in a statement Tuesday afternoon.
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Hochul in September chose Benjamin, then a condition lawmaker, to serve as her 2nd-in-command when she turned governor, using about for Democrat Andrew Cuomo, who resigned amid sexual harassment allegations, which Cuomo has denied.
Hochul and Benjamin have been to show up on the ballot for the Democratic major election in June. It appears the Harlem politician’s identify will probable continue to be as the deadline for withdrawing his candidacy passed in February, according to the New York Publish.
The Affiliated Push contributed to this report.