In a stunning turn of events, the FBI has ramped up its investigation into the 2021 campaign of New York City mayor Eric Adams. The latest development, reported by The New York Times on Friday, reveals that federal agents confiscated electronic devices, including multiple cellphones, as part of an intensified corruption probe.
Breaking News: The FBI seized Mayor Eric Adams’s phones amid an investigation of his 2021 campaign, people close to the matter said. Agents approached Adams on the street before getting into his SUV with him and seizing the devices, one of the people said. https://t.co/kWgJa4xTup
— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 10, 2023
This move follows a recent FBI search of the residence of Brianna Suggs, Adams’s primary campaign fundraiser, during which investigators reportedly seized three cellphones and two laptop systems. The focus of the investigation revolves around the source of approximately $300,000 in campaign donations, with prior reports indicating that Adams and his campaign staff had rebuffed authorities’ requests to disclose this information.
The NYT detailed how FBI agents obtained “at least two cellphones and an iPad” from Adams just days after the raid on Suggs’ residence on November 2nd. Sources revealed that agents approached Adams on the street, directing his security detail to step aside before entering his car and seizing the devices with a court-approved warrant.
According to insider information, Adams regained possession of the equipment within days, as the FBI duplicated the data on the devices during the investigation. The former NYPD captain released a statement through his spokesperson, asserting his cooperation with authorities: “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 that. I have nothing to hide.”
Campaign attorney Boyd Johnson echoed this sentiment, stating, “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.” However, Johnson did not provide details about the individual’s identity or the specific nature of the alleged impropriety.
The investigation has taken an intriguing turn, now exploring whether Adams’s 2021 campaign may have “conspired with the Turkish government and others to funnel money into its coffers.” The warrant also indicated a focus on donations from Bay Atlantic University, a Turkish-founded college in Washington, D.C., linked to a school Adams is rumored to have visited during his 2015 trip to Turkey as the president of the Brooklyn Borough Council.
Local news outlet The City reported that the campaign finance board is scrutinizing donations from approximately 500 distinct individuals. Vito Pitta, Adams’s campaign counsel, emphasized the campaign’s responsiveness to notices from the board: “The campaign has responded to every notice from [the campaign finance board] as appropriate.”