Mayor Eric Adams, Pro-Palestinian Protestors, Columbia University, Arrests

FBI Escalates Investigation, Seizes NY Mayor Eric Adams Electronic Devices

The FBI seized New York City Mayor Eric Adams electronic devices as part of an investigation into whether his campaign was involved in a conspiracy to send money to the Turkish government in 2021.

The FBI seized New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ electronic devices as part of an investigation into whether his 2021 mayoral campaign conspired with the Turkish government to accept illegal foreign donations. As The New York Times reports, FBI agents approached him after an event on Nov. 6 after telling his security detail to step away. The agents got into his SUV and took his electronic devices, for which they had a warrant. 

A few days later, the devices, which included Adams’ phones and at least one iPad, were returned to Adams’ possession. According to the Times, law enforcement can make copies of data they find on devices once they have seized them. However, Boyd Johnson, one of the lawyers for both Adams and his campaign, informed the outlet that Adams had “proactively reported” at least one episode of improper behavior.

Johnson told the Times, “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.”

Johnson also indicated that Adams complied with the FBI immediately and has not been charged with any crime. Adams also made a statement regarding the investigation: “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 also added that there is “nothing to hide.”

Adams, a retired police captain, insists that his desire for his staffers to follow the rule of law can be annoying. Adams also laughed off any suggestion that he had done anything criminal. On Nov. 2, the investigation became public knowledge after agents searched the residence of Brianna Suggs, Adams’ chief fundraiser. Suggs, a former intern, has not said anything publicly since the raid was conducted. The warrant permitted agents to search for evidence pointing to a conspiracy to break campaign finance law between members of the Adams campaign, Turkish nationals, or the Turkish government, and KSK Construction, a Brooklyn construction company whose owners are Turkish. The FBI seized two laptops, three iPhones, and a manila folder marked “Eric Adams” from Suggs’ residence.

According to the Times, the warrant was primarily concerned with whether or not the Turkish government or Turkish nationals used a straw donor scheme, which, according to Campaign Legal, is a practice where a donor gives funds to another entity, usually a shell company created to hold the money, which then gives those funds to a campaign or political committee. The practice is forbidden by federal law. 

When the New York Times investigated Adams’ fundraising record in 2021, Adams responded by blaming the scrutiny he was under on his race, telling the outlet, “Black candidates for office are often held to a higher, unfair standard — especially those from lower-income backgrounds such as myself.”

Adams added, “No campaign of mine has ever been charged with a serious fundraising violation, and no contribution has ever affected my decision-making as a public official. I did not go from being a person that enforced the law to become one that breaks the law.”

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