The FBI has seized multiple communication devices belonging to New York City Mayor Eric Adams. FBI agents reportedly approached Adams on the street, requesting his security detail to step aside. They then proceeded to enter his SUV, where they seized his cell phones and an iPad.
The bold action by the FBI marks a significant turn in the investigation. First reported by the New York Times, the focus of the investigation centers around suspicions that Mayor Adams’s campaign may have conspired with the Turkish government.
The FBI is probing whether there was illicit financial support from Turkey to Adams’ campaign and, in return, whether the mayor or his team offered any special favors to the Turkish government.
BREAKING: The FBI has seized New York City Mayor Eric Adams's phones relating to a federal corruption investigation
The investigation is reportedly looking into whether his campaign conspired with the Turkish government.
According to the New York Times, FBI agents climbed into… pic.twitter.com/BqWeXsdEOw
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) November 10, 2023
This probe gained momentum earlier in the month when Brianna Suggs, a top fundraiser for Adams, was raided by the FBI. The raid was connected to allegations of the Turkish government funneling money into Adams’ campaign coffers.
On November 2, the FBI conducted the raid on the home of Suggs in Brooklyn. Suggs has been a key figure in Adams’ political circle, having earned more than $150,000 from the mayor’s campaign.
One of Suggs’ neighbors told The New York Post, “I heard screaming maybe two or three hours ago.” They also mentioned, “I heard helicopters (also) … the house is boarded up.” Mayor Adams was scheduled to meet with the Biden administration in Washington D.C. that day, but the meeting was abruptly canceled in light of the events.
Agents from a public corruption team in the FBI’s New York branch interacted with Suggs during the inspection of her residence. A representative from the FBI told the New York Times, “We are at that location carrying out law enforcement action,” alluding to Suggs’ house in the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn.
A representative for Adams and his electoral team stated that the city leader had “immediately complied with the F.B.I.’s request and provided them with electronic devices” following a gathering on Monday. The representative, Boyd Johnson, emphasized that Adams is not under accusation and is collaborating with federal officials.
“After learning of the federal investigation, it was discovered that an individual had recently acted improperly,” Johnson mentioned. “In the spirit of transparency and cooperation, this behavior was immediately and proactively reported to investigators.”
In his own remarks, Adams stated, “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.” He further declared that he had “nothing to hide.”
The New York Times reported:
The warrant obtained by the F.B.I. to search Ms. Suggs’s home sought evidence of a conspiracy to violate campaign finance law between members of Mr. Adams’s campaign, the Turkish government or Turkish nationals, and a Brooklyn-based developer, KSK Construction, whose owners are originally from Turkey. The warrant also sought records about donations from Bay Atlantic University, a Washington, D.C., college whose founder is Turkish and is affiliated with a school Mr. Adams visited when he went to Turkey as Brooklyn borough president in 2015.
The warrant, reviewed by The New York Times, indicated authorities were looking at whether the Turkish government or Turkish nationals funneled donations to Mr. Adams using a so-called straw donor scheme, in which the contributors listed were not the actual source of the money. The warrant also inquired about Mr. Adams’s campaign’s use of New York City’s generous public matching program, in which New York City offers an eight-to-one match of the first $250 of a resident’s donation.
The federal authorities also sought evidence of whether any Adams campaign member provided any benefit to Turkey or the construction company in exchange for campaign donations.
This is not the first time Mr. Adams or people in his orbit have attracted law enforcement scrutiny. In September, Eric Ulrich, Mr. Adams’s former buildings commissioner and senior adviser, was indicted by the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, on 16 felony charges, including counts of bribetaking and conspiracy.