NY lieutenant governor Brian Benjamin arrested on fraud and bribery charges

New York, New York - Lieutenant governor of New York Brian Benjamin surrendered to police on Tuesday as he is set to be indicted for corruption.

Brian Benjamin during an event to announce his new position of lieutenant governor alongside state governor Kathy Hochul, August 2021.
Brian Benjamin during an event to announce his new position of lieutenant governor alongside state governor Kathy Hochul, August 2021.  © REUTERS

Benjamin's arrest comes after having been under investigation for conspiring to give state funds to a real estate investor in exchange for illegal campaign donations while he was running for NYC comptroller.

He also allegedly engaged in "a series of lies and deceptions" in an effort to cover up his crime, according to the US Attorney’s Office. He faces charges of bribery, fraud, conspiracy, and falsification of records with a possible sentence of two to 20 years in prison.

Benjamin supposedly participated in the scheme between 2019 and 2021, while he was a state senator, along with developer Gerald Migdol, who was indicted in November.

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"After Mr. Migdol was charged, it was expected the prosecutors would investigate further," Benjamin said last week. "That’s what diligent prosecutors do. I’m fully supportive of their efforts. I’ve provided all information that they have requested, and I will continue to do so if they have any further requests."

State governor Kathy Hochul, who appointed Benjamin as her running mate only seven months ago, came to his defense, stating, "I have utmost confidence in my lieutenant governor. This is an independent investigation related to other people, and he’s fully cooperating."

Hochul has come under fire, despite claiming to not have had knowledge of the investigation when she declared him as her running mate.

"Hochul chose a dirty politician to serve as her partner in government and running mate," Republican chairman Nick Langworthy said. "Brian Benjamin’s shady dealings and corruption were well-documented, but Hochul turned a blind eye and put him a heartbeat away from the governorship."

New York senate leader Rob Ortt and assembly leader Will Barclay have also called for Benjamin's resignation.

Hochul is running for re-election in November, with Benjamin on her ticket. Her running mate being arrested surely won't help her campaign.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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