FBI agents seized New York Mayor Eric Adams' cell phones as part of a federal campaign fundraising investigation, as reported by CNN on Friday (Nov. 10.)
“The agents seized the phones and an iPad earlier this week pursuant to a court authorized search warrant,” a source told CNN.
The confiscation marks a significant escalation of the federal inquiry into whether foreign funds were directed to Adams' campaign. The FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York are leading the investigation.
Although Adams hasn't yet faced any allegations of wrongdoing, he joins a list of politicians being examined for connections to foreign governments – in his case, the Turkish government.
Per CNN, the seizure happened shortly after the FBI searched the residence of Adams' main fundraiser as part of an inquiry to find out if his 2021 campaign collaborated with a construction company in Brooklyn to channel foreign funds into the campaign funds.
While Adams shared during a press conference that he has “nothing to hide,” there have been at least two guilty pleas on conspiracy charges from previous donors, an indictment of a former Adams commissioner accused of taking bribes and evidence of possible straw donors uncovered by THE CITY.
Straw donors illegally channel funds to a political campaign on behalf of another person or entity, often to circumvent contribution limits or hide the true source of money.
The New York Times initially reported the seizure of Adams' devices, noting that prosecutors would need a search warrant and to demonstrate probable cause to a judge that the electronic devices contain evidence of a crime.
In a statement released on Friday (Nov. 10), the mayor said, “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 — and I will continue to do exactly that.”
Adams’ campaign manager and spokesperson Boyd Johnson told CNN, “After learning of the federal investigation, it was discovered that an individual had recently acted improperly. In the spirit of transparency and cooperation, this behavior was immediately and proactively reported to investigators.”
“The mayor has not been accused of any wrongdoing and continues to cooperate with the investigation.”
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