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Democrat Brian Benjamin resigned as New York’s lieutenant governor Tuesday immediately after going through federal expenses of bribery and other offenses in what prosecutors say was a common “story of corruption.”
Federal authorities allege that Benjamin, 45, struck a corrupt deal with a actual estate developer and directed a $50,000 point out grant to a nonprofit corporation the developer managed. In exchange, the developer funneled tens of 1000’s of pounds to Benjamin’s marketing campaign accounts for condition senate and for New York Town comptroller.
“This is a very simple tale of corruption,” Damian Williams, the United States Legal professional for the Southern District of New York, claimed Tuesday.
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“Taxpayer income for marketing campaign contributions. Quid pro quo. This for that. That is bribery, basic and simple.”
Benjamin, through his lawyers, has denied the fees and pledged to establish in court docket “why his steps had been laudable, not legal.”
“There has hardly ever been a federal scenario like this in The us,” lawyers James D. Gatta and William J. Harrington claimed in a assertion. “Brian supported a $50,000 grant to Friends of Community College Harlem. Every single greenback was to acquire materials for public university learners in Harlem. There was very little inappropriate about this grant.”
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Benjamin is struggling with a very long record of fees: one depend of federal system bribery, which carries a greatest sentence of 10 decades in jail one depend of genuine providers wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 several years a person count of conspiracy to commit individuals offenses, which carries a maximum sentence of 5 yrs in jail and two counts of falsification of data, each of which carries a optimum sentence of 20 years in prison.
“These are severe prices in the federal method,” Brett Tolman, the former U.S. Lawyer for the District of Utah explained to Fox News Digital in an job interview Wednesday. “Two factors that a lot of folks never realize is there is quite couple misdemeanors. So nearly every thing is a felony, as is the scenario in this article.”
“And you will find also no parole. So when you get a sentence … you happen to be heading to provide all of no matter what your sentence is. Right here you have the opportunity for prolonged sentences — a long time and decades — in federal jail.”
Tolman, who is government director of Right on Crime, reported the charges towards Benjamin “define a shell out-to-participate in plan.”
Benjamin appeared in Manhattan federal courtroom Tuesday, where by he pleaded not responsible and was released on $250,000 bail. The phrases of his launch get in touch with for his vacation to be restricted and bar him from returning to the state capitol in Albany.
On Tuesday following his arrest, Benjamin resigned from his situation as lieutenant governor.
“I have recognized Brian Benjamin’s resignation effective straight away. Although the legal method plays out, it is apparent to both of us that he are unable to carry on to provide as lieutenant governor. New Yorkers are entitled to absolute assurance in their federal government, and I will continue on functioning every day to deliver for them,” Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul stated in a assertion Tuesday afternoon.
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Hochul in September selected Benjamin, then a state lawmaker, to serve as her 2nd-in-command when she became governor, having above for Democrat Andrew Cuomo, who resigned amid sexual harassment allegations, which Cuomo has denied.
Hochul and Benjamin were being to show up on the ballot for the Democratic principal election in June. It appears the Harlem politician’s title will very likely keep on being as the deadline for withdrawing his candidacy handed in February, in accordance to the New York Put up.
The Involved Press contributed to this report.