The feds appear to be closing in on New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin (D).
Fox News reports that federal investigators have now issued subpoenas to a number of state officials and New York Senate employees, including some of Benjamin’s former campaign advisers.
It was roughly four months ago that federal investigators indicted Manhattan real estate developer Gerald Migdol, a known associate of Benjamin’s.
Migdol stands accused of organizing a scheme in which fraudulent contributions were sent to Benjamin’s 2021 campaign to become New York City’s comptroller.
The purpose of the scheme, according to federal authorities, was to help Benjamin qualify for New York City’s matching funds program, which gives candidates $8 of public funds for every $1 of funds raised privately by the candidate.
Migdol currently stands accused of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft — crimes that could put him behind bars for decades. Migdol has pled “not guilty” to the charges.
What federal authorities are now trying to determine is Benjamin’s role in the scheme, if any.
Leading the investigation into the scheme is the attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York.
Within the past week, prosecutors from the office issued a number of grand jury subpoenas to individuals who were members of Benjamin’s campaign committee. The subpoenas ask for such items as fundraising records and campaign communications.
In addition to this, the prosecutors have subpoenaed the New York Senate, which Benjamin was a member of up until the summer of 2021 when he became New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) lieutenant governor. With this subpoena, prosecutors are asking for records from Benjamin’s time there.
Throughout this whole situation, Benjamin has decided to mostly keep quiet. He has only released one statement, through a spokesperson, following Migdol’s indictment. That statement simply said that “Neither Lt. Gov. Benjamin nor his campaign are being accused of any wrongdoing, and they are prepared to fully cooperate with authorities.”
On Monday Benjamin did admit that he was questioned by federal authorities earlier this year about the scheme that Migdol is alleged to have committed. The New York Post reports that he “was vague on the details of his sit-down with federal law enforcement authorities.”