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Democrat Brian Benjamin resigned as New York’s lieutenant governor Tuesday immediately after experiencing federal fees of bribery and other offenses in what prosecutors say was a basic “tale of corruption.”
Federal authorities allege that Benjamin, 45, struck a corrupt discount with a authentic estate developer and directed a $50,000 point out grant to a nonprofit group the developer managed. In trade, the developer funneled tens of thousands of pounds to Benjamin’s marketing campaign accounts for point out senate and for New York Town comptroller.
“This is a simple tale of corruption,” Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, claimed Tuesday.
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“Taxpayer revenue for marketing campaign contributions. Quid pro quo. This for that. Which is bribery, simple and simple.”
Benjamin, as a result of his lawyers, has denied the charges and pledged to demonstrate in court docket “why his actions have been laudable, not criminal.”
“There has under no circumstances been a federal scenario like this in America,” lawyers James D. Gatta and William J. Harrington reported in a statement. “Brian supported a $50,000 grant to Mates of Community School Harlem. Each greenback was to buy materials for community college pupils in Harlem. There was absolutely nothing inappropriate about this grant.”
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Benjamin is going through a extensive record of charges: a single rely of federal program bribery, which carries a highest sentence of 10 a long time in prison a single depend of genuine companies wire fraud, which carries a utmost sentence of 20 decades just one depend of conspiracy to commit these offenses, which carries a maximum sentence of 5 yrs in jail and two counts of falsification of information, every single of which carries a most sentence of 20 many years in prison.
“These are significant expenses in the federal system,” Brett Tolman, the former U.S. Legal professional for the District of Utah told Fox Information Digital in an interview Wednesday. “Two things that a ton of individuals will not know is there’s extremely couple misdemeanors. So nearly all the things is a felony, as is the circumstance below.”
“And there is also no parole. So when you get a sentence … you might be going to provide all of whichever your sentence is. Below you have the probable for lengthy sentences — a long time and several years — in federal prison.”
Tolman, who is govt director of Ideal on Crime, said the fees from Benjamin “define a shell out-to-participate in plan.”
Benjamin appeared in Manhattan federal court docket Tuesday, where he pleaded not guilty and was produced on $250,000 bail. The terms of his release get in touch with for his vacation to be restricted and bar him from returning to the condition capitol in Albany.
On Tuesday immediately after his arrest, Benjamin resigned from his place as lieutenant governor.
“I have recognized Brian Benjamin’s resignation productive promptly. While the authorized system performs out, it is very clear to each of us that he simply cannot continue to serve as lieutenant governor. New Yorkers have earned absolute confidence in their authorities, and I will proceed performing every single working day to produce 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 point out lawmaker, to serve as her second-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 to seem on the ballot for the Democratic major election in June. It appears the Harlem politician’s name will very likely keep on being as the deadline for withdrawing his candidacy passed in February, in accordance to the New York Submit.
The Involved Push contributed to this report.