NEW YORK – On the job for just over half a year after being appointed to his post by New York Governor Kathy Hochul, Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin was arrested and indicted on Tuesday for bribery and other charges after it was alleged by federal prosecutors the he offered a $50,000 state grant in exchange for campaign contributions while he was a state senator.
Benjamin, who got his job after Hochul took over the post of disgraced former Governor Andrew Cuomo after he resigned in 2021 amid multiple sexual harassment claims, is also alleged by prosecutors to have attempted to cover-up his “scheme” via a “series of lies and deception.”
Tuesday’s indictment states that Benjamin, between the years of 2019 and 2021 – while he was a state senator and a candidate for state comptroller – purportedly set up $50,000 in state funds to be used as a grant for a non-profit organization run by a real estate developer in exchange for campaign donations.
Benjamin then attempted to hide his activities by allegedly falsifying campaign donor forms, and lied while being vetted for his Lieutenant Governor position by saying that he never utilized his position as an official “concerning a matter of a donor [he] directly solicited.”
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Benjamin has been charged with bribery, conspiracy, honest services wire fraud, and falsification of records, all of which individually carry maximum sentences between five and 20 years behind bars if he is convicted. Prosecutors are also attempting to seize property from Benjamin that would equate to the amount of state money that he allegedly spent for his purported scheme.
A press conference is expected to be held Tuesday afternoon by U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams to address Benjamin’s arrest; FBI and the New York City Department of Investigation officials are expected to be there as well.