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FBI seizes New York mayor's phones in corruption probe

November 11, 2023

The FBI is investigating whether New York mayor Eric Adams' 2021 campaign conspired with Turkey to receive foreign donations. His attorney says that his team discovered that one individual had acted improperly.

Eric Adams during visit to US Navy Ship USS New York
Police have confiscated electronic devices belonging to New York City's mayor, Eric AdamsImage: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office/AP/picture alliance

FBI agents seized New York mayor Eric Adams' phones and other devices, his campaign lawyer said on Friday.

Authorities are investigating whether Adams' 2021 campaign conspired with the Turkish government to receive donations from foreign sources.

The seizure comes four days after federal agents searched the Brooklyn home of Adams' top fundraiser, Brianna Suggs.

What did Adams and his lawyer say?

"On Monday night, the FBI approached the mayor after an event. The Mayor immediately complied with the FBI's request and provided them with electronic devices," Adams' attorney, Boyd Johnson said. "The mayor has not been accused of any wrongdoing and continues to cooperate with the investigation."

Johnson said that they had "discovered that an individual had recently acted improperly."

"After learning of the federal investigation, it was discovered that an individual had recently acted improperly. In the spirit of transparency and cooperation, this behavior was immediately and proactively reported to investigators," he said.

New York mayor Eric Adams
Adams says his team will cooperate with law enforcement amid the probeImage: Mayoral Photography Office/Ed Reed/AP/picture alliance

In a statement on Friday, Adams said he had "nothing to hide."

"As a former member of law enforcement, I expect all members of my staff to follow the law and fully cooperate with any sort of investigation — and I will continue to do exactly that," he said.

Earlier this week, Adams said that he was not aware of any wrongdoing by members of his campaign team.

What is the investigation into New York's mayor?

The focus of the investigation has not been publicly disclosed by prosecutors.

The New York Times reported that it had acquired an arrest warrant that indicated authorities were examining whether the Adams campaign engaged in a scheme to receive foreign donations listed under false contributors.

The paper said that the FBI was searching for evidence of conspiracy between the Adams campaign, the Turkish government and a Brooklyn-based developer whose owners are Turkish.

The warrant also requested information about Adams' use of New York City's matching funds program.

Earlier this year, Manhattan prosecutors brought charges against six people who allegedly sought to manipulate the program to acquire tens of thousands of dollars for the Adams campaign.

Adams has not been charged in that case.

sdi/lo (AFP, AP, Reuters)