A source close to the probe tells HEDLINESFOREVER that on Friday, FBI officials took Mayor Eric Adams’s cellphones as part of a federal investigation into campaign finance.
A person familiar with the situation said that authorities used a search warrant issued by a court to grab the phones and an iPad earlier this week.
The mayor is a Democrat, and this seizure marks a major escalation of a federal investigation into whether or whether foreign money was funnelled to his campaign. The inquiry is being handled by the FBI and the US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York. Although Adams has not been charged with any misconduct, he is the most recent politician to face examination over connections to foreign countries, in this case Turkey.
The FBI raided the house of Adams’ chief fundraiser a few days prior to the seizure, as part of an investigation into whether or whether the mayor’s 2021 campaign colluded with a Brooklyn-based construction company to syphon foreign money into campaign coffers.
The New York Times was the first to disclose that Adams’s electronics had been taken. Prosecutors would require probable cause to convince a judge that the electronic devices in question contain evidence of a crime in order to obtain a search warrant.
“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,” the mayor said in a message to HEDLINESFOREVER on Friday. “I have nothing to hide.”
Neither the US attorney’s office nor the FBI would provide a statement.
Adams’ campaign attorney and spokeswoman Boyd Johnson told HEDLINESFOREVER that the mayor “immediately complied with the FBI’s request and provided them with electronic devices” when the FBI approached him after an event on Monday night.
Recent inappropriate behaviour by an individual was uncovered after hearing about the federal inquiry. “In the spirit of openness and cooperation, this conduct was reported to investigators without delay,” Johnson stated.
Furthermore, “the mayor has not been accused of any wrongdoing and continues to cooperate with the investigation,” he said.
According to his published schedule, the mayor spoke at the Kimmel Centre at New York University on Monday. The FBI “walked right up to him,” two individuals close to the mayor told HEDLINESFOREVER thereafter.
The agents reportedly requested that his NYPD bodyguards leave the room. They got into Adams’ city-issued SUV and gave him a warrant to take his gadgets.
The mayor usually has two phones and uses an iPad for public speeches. According to the sources, all three gadgets have been handed over to the FBI.
On November 2, the FBI raided the house of Adams’s top fundraiser, and Adams claimed he immediately requested a check of campaign documents to see if anyone “had acted improperly.”
Sources told HEDLINESFOREVER the review resulted in both campaign and City Hall lawyers uncovering proof that “one person” had acted unlawfully. The sources were unwilling to discuss the individual’s identity or their role in the campaign.
After consulting with their clients, lawyers shared their findings with authorities.
Based on what we know now, “it looks like they used that information to draw up a warrant and obtain his devices,” the sources said.
That same night, upon coming home, Adams checked another set of electronics and devices and advised police enforcement he would turn those over to them as well. The information I gathered called the gadgets “old phones.”
According to multiple law enforcement sources contacted by HEDLINESFOREVER, on November 2 teams of FBI agents executed “numerous search warrants” at residences and businesses in the New York area, including one at the home of Brianna Suggs, the campaign’s chief fundraiser.
According to HEDLINESFOREVER’s sources, the search warrants issued last week are part of an investigation into whether or not foreign nationals, who are prohibited from making contributions, may have “bundled” donations by approaching members of New York’s Turkish American communities and convincing them to pose as “straw contributors.”
The claimed method would have allowed funds from overseas corporations to be disguised as contributions from individuals within the United States.
Adams spoke to media on Wednesday after the raid news surfaced and defended his campaign.
If one of the people employed by my campaign were to act inappropriately, I would be shocked. Adams stated, “It would shock me, and it would hurt.
The mayor has been quite vocal about his close relationship with the city’s Turkish American population, even mentioning the number of times he’s travelled to Turkey at a recent flag-raising ceremony in Lower Manhattan.
As borough president of Brooklyn, Adams visited Turkey on at least two separate occasions. His August 2015 trip, during which he inked a sister city arrangement with Istanbul’s Üsküdar neighbourhood, was funded by the Turkish Consulate.
The same US attorney’s office in September charged Sen. Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, with corruption-related offences, alleging he collected payments in exchange for supporting the Egyptian government. Menendez has entered a not guilty plea.