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Democrat Brian Benjamin resigned as New York’s lieutenant governor Tuesday just after facing federal prices of bribery and other offenses in what prosecutors say was a classic “story of corruption.”
Federal authorities allege that Benjamin, 45, struck a corrupt discount with a true estate developer and directed a $50,000 state grant to a nonprofit business the developer managed. In trade, the developer funneled tens of thousands of dollars to Benjamin’s campaign accounts for condition senate and for New York City comptroller.
“This is a uncomplicated tale of corruption,” Damian Williams, the United States Legal professional for the Southern District of New York, reported Tuesday.
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“Taxpayer dollars for campaign contributions. Quid professional quo. This for that. That is bribery, simple and straightforward.”
Benjamin, through his attorneys, has denied the expenses and pledged to establish in court “why his actions have been laudable, not felony.”
“There has never ever been a federal circumstance like this in America,” lawyers James D. Gatta and William J. Harrington mentioned in a assertion. “Brian supported a $50,000 grant to Good friends of General public College Harlem. Each individual dollar was to invest in materials for public university college students in Harlem. There was nothing inappropriate about this grant.”
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Benjamin is experiencing a very long checklist of fees: a single count of federal software bribery, which carries a greatest sentence of 10 yrs in prison just one depend of sincere companies wire fraud, which carries a utmost sentence of 20 many years a single depend of conspiracy to commit those offenses, which carries a optimum sentence of 5 several years in prison and two counts of falsification of documents, each and every of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 yrs in prison.
“These are major rates in the federal method,” Brett Tolman, the previous U.S. Lawyer for the District of Utah advised Fox Information Digital in an interview Wednesday. “Two things that a large amount of people do not understand is you can find extremely handful of misdemeanors. So almost every thing is a felony, as is the case right here.”
“And you can find also no parole. So when you get a sentence … you’re likely to serve all of whichever your sentence is. Right here you have the possible for prolonged sentences — several years and yrs — in federal jail.”
Tolman, who is executive director of Appropriate on Crime, reported the charges towards Benjamin “define a fork out-to-play plan.”
Benjamin appeared in Manhattan federal court Tuesday, the place he pleaded not responsible and was launched on $250,000 bail. The terms of his release get in touch with for his vacation to be limited and bar him from returning to the state capitol in Albany.
On Tuesday right after his arrest, Benjamin resigned from his situation as lieutenant governor.
“I have recognized Brian Benjamin’s resignation productive quickly. While the authorized process performs out, it is very clear to both of us that he are unable to carry on to provide as lieutenant governor. New Yorkers ought to have absolute confidence in their govt, and I will proceed performing each working day to supply for them,” Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul explained in a assertion Tuesday afternoon.
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Hochul in September selected Benjamin, then a state lawmaker, to serve as her 2nd-in-command when she became governor, using over 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 primary election in June. It seems the Harlem politician’s name will very likely continue to be as the deadline for withdrawing his candidacy handed in February, according to the New York Publish.
The Linked Press contributed to this report.