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Democrat Brian Benjamin resigned as New York’s lieutenant governor Tuesday immediately after going through federal charges of bribery and other offenses in what prosecutors say was a typical “tale of corruption.”
Federal authorities allege that Benjamin, 45, struck a corrupt bargain with a real estate developer and directed a $50,000 point out grant to a nonprofit firm the developer managed. In trade, the developer funneled tens of thousands of bucks to Benjamin’s campaign accounts for condition senate and for New York Metropolis comptroller.
“This is a very simple tale of corruption,” Damian Williams, the United States Lawyer for the Southern District of New York, reported Tuesday.
NY LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR ARRESTED ON BRIBERY Charges
“Taxpayer money for marketing campaign contributions. Quid pro quo. This for that. That’s bribery, basic and simple.”
Benjamin, by means of his lawyers, has denied the expenses and pledged to demonstrate in court “why his steps were being laudable, not legal.”
“There has by no means been a federal circumstance like this in The usa,” lawyers James D. Gatta and William J. Harrington mentioned in a assertion. “Brian supported a $50,000 grant to Buddies of General public University Harlem. Just about every dollar was to purchase provides for general public school students in Harlem. There was practically nothing inappropriate about this grant.”
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Benjamin is dealing with a extensive record of rates: one particular count of federal program bribery, which carries a most sentence of 10 a long time in jail just one depend of genuine providers wire fraud, which carries a highest sentence of 20 decades 1 rely of conspiracy to dedicate people offenses, which carries a maximum sentence of 5 yrs in jail and two counts of falsification of information, each individual of which carries a optimum sentence of 20 years in jail.
“These are critical charges in the federal system,” Brett Tolman, the former U.S. Legal professional for the District of Utah advised Fox Information Digital in an job interview Wednesday. “Two points that a good deal of people today never recognize is there is certainly quite few misdemeanors. So virtually all the things is a felony, as is the circumstance listed here.”
“And you can find also no parole. So when you get a sentence … you happen to be going to provide all of whatever your sentence is. Right here you have the potential for prolonged sentences — many years and a long time — in federal prison.”
Tolman, who is executive director of Right on Crime, explained the fees versus Benjamin “outline a pay back-to-perform plan.”
Benjamin appeared in Manhattan federal court docket Tuesday, where he pleaded not responsible and was unveiled on $250,000 bail. The conditions of his release phone for his journey to be limited and bar him from returning to the state capitol in Albany.
On Tuesday just after his arrest, Benjamin resigned from his posture as lieutenant governor.
“I have recognized Brian Benjamin’s resignation powerful promptly. Whilst the authorized system plays out, it is very clear to both equally of us that he can not go on to provide as lieutenant governor. New Yorkers are worthy of complete self esteem in their government, and I will carry on doing work just about every day to supply for them,” Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul mentioned in a statement Tuesday afternoon.
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Hochul in September selected Benjamin, then a point out lawmaker, to serve as her next-in-command when she became governor, using more than for Democrat Andrew Cuomo, who resigned amid sexual harassment allegations, which Cuomo has denied.
Hochul and Benjamin had been to look on the ballot for the Democratic principal election in June. It appears the Harlem politician’s title will most likely stay as the deadline for withdrawing his candidacy handed in February, according to the New York Article.
The Associated Push contributed to this report.