NATIONAL NEWS

FBI seized phones from New York Mayor Eric Adams in escalation of fundraising investigation

Nov 10, 2023, 8:03 PM

FILE: New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks during a press conference on gun violence at the Office...

FILE: New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks during a press conference on gun violence at the Office of Chief Medical Examiner on June 26, 2023 in New York City. Mayor Adams was joined by First Deputy Commissioner Edward A. Caban and Chief Medical Examiner Jason Graham as they announced that the OCME's DNA Gun Crimes Unit, the first in the nation, became the country's fastest big city crime lab for testing and analysis of gun crimes going from 60 days to 30 days or less. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — FBI agents quietly seized phones and an iPad from New York City Mayor Eric Adams early this week as part of an investigation into political fundraising during his 2021 campaign, his attorney disclosed Friday.

The seizures happened as Adams was leaving a public event in Manhattan, according to a statement from the mayor’s attorney, Boyd Johnson.

“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,” Johnson said. “The mayor has not been accused of any wrongdoing and continues to cooperate with the investigation.”

The seizure of the devices, first reported by The New York Times, came four days after federal agents searched the Brooklyn home of Adams’ top campaign fundraiser, Brianna Suggs. That search prompted the mayor to cancel a planned trip to meet with White House officials in Washington and instead return to New York.

In a statement on Friday, Adams, a former police captain, 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.

The revelation of the seizure is the clearest evidence yet that federal investigators are interested in Adams, who has previously kept an arms-length distance from ethics scandals that have dogged several of his associates.

Adams, a Democrat, said nothing publicly about his phones being seized when he met with reporters on Wednesday and insisted he wasn’t aware of any wrongdoing by members of his campaign team. He said he would be “shocked” if anyone on his campaign acted inappropriately.

But in his statement Friday, Adams’ attorney said they had “discovered that an individual had recently acted improperly.” His campaign spokesperson declined to identify the person involved or say what they did wrong.

“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,” Johnson said, offering no further details.

Representatives for the U.S. attorney in Manhattan and the FBI both declined to comment.

The focus of the investigation hasn’t been publicly disclosed by prosecutors, but a search warrant obtained by The New York Times indicated authorities are examining whether the Adams campaign conspired with the Turkish government to receive donations from foreign sources, funneled through straw donors.

The warrant also requested information about Adams’ use of New York City’s matching funds program, which provides candidates with an eightfold match of a city resident’s first donations.

Over the summer, Manhattan prosecutors brought charges against six people who allegedly sought to manipulate the fundraising program to funnel tens of thousands of dollars to Adams’ 2021 mayoral campaign. Adams has not been charged in that case.

A campaign spokesperson said the FBI has since returned some, but not all, of Adams’ devices.

Photos show Adams spoke Monday evening at an autism awareness event at New York University. The following day, his spokesperson announced that Adams would not travel to Puerto Rico for an annual conference widely attended by New York’s political players.

At his news conference Wednesday, Adams told reporters his absence at the conference was the result of New York’s “serious fiscal crisis,” adding that it wouldn’t be appropriate “to have on a flowery shirt lying on a beach drinking a margarita.” He was previously scheduled to receive a humanitarian award at the conference, according to a flyer of the event.

The Democrat also reiterated earlier statements that he had no personal knowledge of any improper fundraising, and didn’t believe he had anything to personally fear from the investigation. He praised Suggs, 25, as a “brilliant young lady” who “followed the rules.”

Suggs has declined comment through a spokesperson.

At the time, the mayor’s chief City Hall lawyer had confirmed that the administration was communicating with federal prosecutors, but declined to discuss what that entailed.

Adams, 63, was elected mayor two years ago and has been in office since January 2022. He went into politics after a 22-year police career, serving as a state senator and in the largely ceremonial position of Brooklyn borough president before running for mayor.

A political centrist, Adams rode a tough-on-crime message to victory in the 2021 Democratic mayoral primary before defeating Republican Curtis Sliwa in the general election.

In September, Adams’ top building-safety official, Eric Ulrich, was charged with taking $150,000 in bribes and improper gifts from associates and repaying them with favors that included access to top officials, including Adams, and help doing business with the city.

___

Associated Press writers Michael R. Sisak and Karen Matthews contributed to this report.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

Nearly 4,000 of the new Tesla Cybertrucks are being recalled because the accelerator can become stu...

Chris Isidore and Peter Valdes-Dapena

Tesla recalls Cybertruck due to accelerator pedal that can stick

Tesla has been ordered to recall nearly 4,000 of its Cybertrucks due to an accelerator pedal that can stick in place when pressed down.

2 hours ago

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 04: Taylor Swift attends the 66th GRAMMY Awards at Crypto.com Ar...

Alli Rosenbloom and Elizabeth Wagmeister

Taylor Swift’s surprise double album ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ is daggers wrapped in a lullaby

Take your seat because Taylor Swift’s “Tortured Poets Department” meeting has officially been called into session and, surprise, it’s a 31-song mega double album.

4 hours ago

Zach Lemann, curator of animal collections for the Audubon Insectarium, prepares cicadas for eating...

Kevin McGill, Associated Press

Would you like a cicada salad? The monstrous little noisemakers descend on a New Orleans menu

They may look like little monsters. And their seemingly endless racket may be a nuisance. But as parts of the nation prepare for the emergence of trillions of noisy cicadas, bug experts say the little creatures can also be a tasty snack.

4 hours ago

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 21: Italy's Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani addresses the opening session on...

Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Israel gave US last-minute warning about drone attack on Iran, Italian foreign minister says at G7

The United States told the Group of Seven foreign ministers on Friday that it received “last minute” information from Israel about a drone action in Iran, Italy’s foreign minister said.

4 hours ago

air strike seen from a distance...

CNN

Israel has carried out a strike inside Iran, US official tells CNN, as region braces for escalation

Israel has carried out a military strike inside Iran, a US official told CNN Friday, a potentially dangerous escalation in a fast-widening Middle East conflict that Iranian government officials have so far sought to play down.

4 hours ago

In this photo illustration, the TikTok app is seen on a phone on March 13, 2024 in New York City. C...

Brian Fung, CNN

TikTok is in the hot seat once again in Washington

On Wednesday, House Republicans added a hot-button bill that could lead to a nationwide TikTok ban to a wide-ranging foreign aid package intended to help Israel and Ukraine.

13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

FBI seized phones from New York Mayor Eric Adams in escalation of fundraising investigation