Federal agents have escalated their investigation into Mayor Eric Adams’s campaign finances by seizing his electronic devices under a judicial warrant.
This development marks a new phase in the criminal investigation into potential illicit contributions from the Turkish government to Adams’s 2021 campaign.
The FBI executed a court-ordered warrant to take possession of at least two cell phones and an iPad from Adams after an event in Manhattan, but these items were returned within a few days.
Adams’s legal counsel, Boyd Johnson, affirmed the mayor’s cooperative stance, stating, “After learning of the federal investigation, it was discovered that an individual had recently acted improperly.”
He added, “In the spirit of transparency and cooperation, this behavior was immediately and proactively reported to investigators.”
Johnson reassured that no allegations of wrongdoing have been made against Adams, who has proactively complied with the FBI’s requests.
The ongoing investigation, which gained public attention with the search of the home of Adams’s chief fundraiser, Brianna Suggs, is probing into the possibility of a “straw donor” scheme used to funnel donations to Adams’s campaign.
The warrant indicated that the federal investigation focuses on contributions from the Turkish government or Turkish nationals and a Brooklyn-based construction company with Turkish origins.
The probe also examines the campaign’s use of New York City’s public matching program, which generously matches small contributions from city residents.
Mayor Adams was approached on the street on Monday after an event at the New York University, and his security was asked to step aside as the agents accompanied him in his SUV to execute the warrant, a source told the New York Times.
Although Adams had previously been in contact with the FBI, he was unaware of their intention to approach him on Monday evening.
After Adams returned home and discovered more electronic devices, he promptly notified the FBI and arranged to turn these over as well.
An insider informed the New York Post that the raid method might be associated with Mayor Adams’s stance on immigration policy.
In the past few months, Mayor Adams has openly criticized the federal government for its lack of financial support and the sluggish processing of migrant work authorizations, which has strained New York’s considerable financial resources.
At the time of the raid on Suggs’s home, Adams was in Washington, D.C., having just arrived for a day of discussions with White House officials and congressional leaders about the surge of migrants.
Following the news of the raid, he promptly returned to New York.
On Wednesday, Mayor Adams stated that his sudden return was prompted by his commitment to his team and concern for Suggs, who, according to him, had endured a “traumatic experience.”
Like Mayor Adams, Suggs has not been charged with any offenses.
His fundraising practices have consistently been under the microscope, with past inquiries into his activities as Brooklyn borough president and New York state senator.
In response to these inquiries, Adams has expressed his commitment to legality, stating, “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.”
Adams asserts that he has “nothing to hide.”
Adams’s campaign has not been the first to attract federal attention; former Mayor Bill de Blasio also faced an investigation into his fundraising activities.
However, in de Blasio’s case, federal prosecutors chose not to file charges, citing challenges in proving criminal intent when there was no evidence of personal gain.