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Democrat Brian Benjamin resigned as New York’s lieutenant governor Tuesday after going through federal fees of bribery and other offenses in what prosecutors say was a vintage “story of corruption.”
Federal authorities allege that Benjamin, 45, struck a corrupt cut price with a authentic estate developer and directed a $50,000 condition grant to a nonprofit firm the developer controlled. In exchange, the developer funneled tens of hundreds of dollars to Benjamin’s campaign accounts for condition senate and for New York City comptroller.
“This is a simple tale of corruption,” Damian Williams, the United States Legal professional for the Southern District of New York, stated Tuesday.
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“Taxpayer dollars for campaign contributions. Quid pro quo. This for that. Which is bribery, plain and easy.”
Benjamin, by his lawyers, has denied the charges and pledged to establish in court “why his steps were laudable, not criminal.”
“There has in no way been a federal case like this in The united states,” lawyers James D. Gatta and William J. Harrington explained in a assertion. “Brian supported a $50,000 grant to Pals of Community School Harlem. Every single greenback was to purchase provides for community school learners in Harlem. There was very little inappropriate about this grant.”
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Benjamin is facing a extensive record of fees: just one rely of federal system bribery, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 decades in jail just one count of honest services wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years a single rely of conspiracy to commit people offenses, which carries a most sentence of 5 yrs in jail and two counts of falsification of data, every of which carries a greatest sentence of 20 a long time in jail.
“These are major rates in the federal process,” Brett Tolman, the former U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah instructed Fox News Digital in an job interview Wednesday. “Two things that a great deal of individuals will not understand is there is very few misdemeanors. So pretty much anything is a felony, as is the situation below.”
“And you will find also no parole. So when you get a sentence … you are likely to serve all of whichever your sentence is. Right here you have the likely for lengthy sentences — a long time and decades — in federal prison.”
Tolman, who is govt director of Proper on Criminal offense, explained the prices towards Benjamin “define a pay back-to-perform plan.”
Benjamin appeared in Manhattan federal court docket Tuesday, where by he pleaded not guilty and was launched on $250,000 bail. The phrases of his launch simply call for his vacation to be restricted and bar him from returning to the point out capitol in Albany.
On Tuesday immediately after his arrest, Benjamin resigned from his situation as lieutenant governor.
“I have approved Brian Benjamin’s resignation productive promptly. Even though the lawful procedure performs out, it is very clear to both equally of us that he can’t continue to serve as lieutenant governor. New Yorkers deserve absolute confidence in their federal government, and I will continue on working every day to produce for them,” Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul stated in a statement Tuesday afternoon.
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Hochul in September selected Benjamin, then a point out lawmaker, to provide as her 2nd-in-command when she grew to become governor, getting more than 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 main election in June. It seems the Harlem politician’s title will most likely stay as the deadline for withdrawing his candidacy handed in February, in accordance to the New York Write-up.
The Affiliated Push contributed to this report.