New York Lt. Gov. indicted in alleged bribery plot: report

New York Lt. Gov. indicted in alleged bribery plot: report
Image via Wikimedia Commons

New York Democratic Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin (D) is now facing an indictment on multiple charges "including bribery and honest services wire fraud conspiracy, bribery, honest services wire fraud and two counts of falsification of records, for an alleged conspiracy that took place while he was a state senator," per a newly unsealed indictment.

According to CNN, the indictment offers details about Benjamin's alleged involvement in a financial scheme that took place from approximately 2019 to 2021.

The top-ranking New York official, who served as a Democratic state senator prior to assuming his role as lieutenant governor, "allegedly took part in a scheme to get campaign contributions from an unnamed Harlem-based real estate developer in exchange for a $50,000 state grant for a non-profit organization controlled by the developer."

The indictment also notes that the non-profit organization was active in the Harlem school district donating school supplies while providing other educational resources. "In doing so, Benjamin abused his authority as a New York State senator, engaging in a bribery scheme using public funds for his own corrupt purposes," the indictment states.

Per CNN:

The indictment alleges that others acting at his direction or on his behalf "engaged in a series of lies and deceptions to cover up his scheme" by allegedly falsifying campaign donor forms, misleading municipal regulators, and providing false information in vetting forms that Benjamin submitted while he was under consideration to be appointed as the next lieutenant governor of New York. Benjamin served as a state senator from June 2017, representing northern Manhattan, until he was appointed by Hochul.

In wake of the latest controversy, multiple top-ranking officials in New York have shared their reactions to Benjamin's indictment. Progressive leader Ana Maria Archila said, "Our elected officials should be held to the highest ethical standard to preserve the public trust. My opponent has violated that compact. Albany has been plagued by corruption for too long, with politicians trading favors for the money of the wealthy and powerful."

Former New York City council member Diana Reyna, and Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.), weighed in with a joint statement.

"Today's bombshell is an indictment on Kathy Hochul's lack of experience and poor judgment," Suozzi and Reyna said. "Hochul's first decision was to pick her LG, who she entrusted with leading her failed bail reform effort, negotiating the budget and last week said she had the utmost faith in him despite many reports of investigations into his conduct in office."

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