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New York City mayor Eric Adams said he had “nothing to hide” after his electronic devices were seized in the street by the FBI as part of a corruption investigation into his 2021 election campaign.
The Democratic politician’s campaign confirmed on Friday that Adams had been approached earlier this week by FBI agents. The news came days after a raid on the Brooklyn home of his 25-year-old chief campaign fundraiser, as authorities reportedly probe potentially illegal donations from the Turkish state.
In a statement, Adams, a former police officer who was elected to City Hall in 2021, said he expected “all members of my staff to follow the law and fully co-operate with any sort of investigation”. He added: “I will continue to do exactly that. I have nothing to hide”.
The escalation in the corruption probe follows an early-morning search last week of the Crown Heights home of Brianna Suggs, a former intern for Adams who rose to become head of his campaign funding organisation.
Adams rushed back from Washington, where he had been attending a White House meeting about migrants, after the raid was reported. “As a human being, I was concerned about a young 25-year-old staffer that went through a traumatic experience,” he told reporters.
US media reported that agents had seized iPhones and laptop computers, and were investigating potential illegal kickbacks to Turkish officials by the campaign, among other unlawful activities.
Adams has travelled to Turkey several times in the past few years, including while Brooklyn borough president. He has repeatedly denied wrongdoing since the search of Suggs’s home.
A lawyer for Adams’s campaign, Boyd Johnson, said that after learning of the federal investigation, “it was discovered that an individual had recently acted improperly”.
“In the spirit of transparency and co-operation, this behaviour was immediately and proactively reported to investigators,” he added. “The mayor has been and remains committed to co-operating in this matter.”
Johnson’s statement confirmed reporting by The New York Times that the FBI had approached Adams on Monday night “after an event”. He said the mayor “immediately complied” with agents’ requests and provided them with his devices.
The Times had reported that the agents climbed into Adams’s SUV and that the devices were subsequently returned. Those details were not confirmed by the mayor’s office.
“The mayor has not been accused of any wrongdoing and continues to co-operate with the investigation,” Johnson concluded.
Adams’s 2021 campaign has been referenced in other criminal probes, with six people, including a retired police inspector, being charged by the Manhattan district attorney in July for allegedly “subverting campaign finance laws”.
The office of the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, which is reportedly involved in the federal probe, declined to comment.
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