were looking for evidence of foreign funding for his election campaign
The FBI seized the iPhone and iPad of New York City Mayor Eric Adams as part of an investigation into corruption in campaign fundraising. CBS News reported in more detail.
The seizure took place on November 6 in the evening. FBI officers approached the mayor on the street, asked his security to step aside, and seized two iPhones and an iPad. A few days later the gadgets were returned.
Adams’ attorney, Boyd Johnson, issued the following statement: “When word of the federal investigation came to light, it was revealed that an individual had recently engaged in inappropriate behavior. In the spirit of transparency and cooperation, this behavior was promptly and proactively reported to investigators. The mayor has been and remains committed to cooperation on this issue. The FBI contacted the mayor after one of the events. The mayor immediately complied with the FBI’s request and provided its employees with electronic devices. The mayor has not been accused of any wrongdoing and continues to cooperate with the investigation.”
At his weekly meeting with reporters on Nov. 8, Adams fielded questions, mostly about the FBI raid on the home of his top campaign fundraiser, Brianna Suggs. The mayor did not talk about the fact that he was approached by FBI agents who confiscated his electronic devices two days ago.
Sources said the information Adams’ lawyers provided to investigators did not concern Suggs, but someone else in the mayor’s circle.
On the subject: The FBI conducted a search of a close associate of Adams: the mayor canceled his visit to Washington because of this
The sources declined to identify the person, but information about him was allegedly on one of the mayor’s devices.
“This sets the stage for the conspiracy to thicken substantially regarding the mayor’s involvement,” said Kean University President David Birdsell.
While there is no hint of the mayor’s guilt in this case, it certainly raises the stakes for him, Birdsell said.
“Until now, no one has made any allegations about the mayor’s involvement in potential fundraising from foreign sources, in this case Turkish, and now they are seizing his devices,” he said.
So what was the FBI looking for?
“We checked everything: text messages, email. They looked at when the calls were made or received and who made or received them,” former U.S. Attorney Zachary Carter responded.
The mayor issued his own statement: “As a former law enforcement officer, I expect all members of my staff to follow the law and fully cooperate with any investigation, and I will continue to do just that. I have nothing to hide”.
On November 2, teams of FBI agents executed “numerous search warrants” at homes and businesses throughout New York, including the home of top Adams campaign fundraiser Brianna Suggs, CNN writes.
Law enforcement officials familiar with the search warrants said investigators are looking for evidence that foreign nationals barred from making contributions may have been “pooling” donations by reaching out to New York’s Turkish-American communities and recruiting U.S. citizens of Turkish descent as ” straw investors.”
The alleged scheme disguised money coming from foreign business entities as donations from American citizens who did not actually donate them.
The mayor emphasized his ties to the city’s Turkish-American community and noted at a recent flag-raising ceremony in Lower Manhattan that he had visited the country at least six or seven times. According to Adams, he was “shocked” by the information that someone from his circle did such a thing.
Adams visited Turkey at least twice as president of Brooklyn. The Turkish consulate paid for his trip in August 2015, during which he signed a twinning agreement with the Üsküdar district of Istanbul.