NY Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin Arrested on Corruption Charges
New York state’s lieutenant governor Brian Benjamin has been arrested on campaign finance fraud charges.
New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin resigned Tuesday in the wake of his arrest in a federal corruption investigation, creating a political crisis for Gov. Kathy Hochul seven months after she selected Benjamin as a partner to make a fresh start in an office already rocked by scandal.
Benjamin, a Democrat, was accused in an indictment of participating in a scheme to obtain campaign contributions from a real estate developer in exchange for Benjamin’s agreement to use his influence as a state senator to get a $50,000 grant of state funds for a nonprofit organization the developer controlled.
Facing charges including bribery, fraud, conspiracy and falsification of records, Benjamin pleaded not guilty Tuesday at an initial appearance in Manhattan federal court. He was released and bail was set at $250,000. The terms of his release call for his travel to be restricted and bar him from returning to the state capitol in Albany.
He submitted his resignation to Hochul hours later.
“I have accepted Brian Benjamin’s resignation effective immediately. While the legal process plays out, it is clear to both of us that he cannot continue to serve as Lieutenant Governor. New Yorkers deserve absolute confidence in their government, and I will continue working every day to deliver for them,” Hochul said in a statement.
The state government immediately took down its official profile page of Benjamin. The page had included many photos of Hochul and Benjamin with arms around each other.