New York Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin resigned on April 12, hours after authorities arrested him on charges related to a campaign finance fraud investigation.
Governor Kathy Hachul said that Benjamin’s resignation was 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.
Hours earlier, Benjamin pleaded not guilty in federal court in Manhattan after he surrendered to authorities for an alleged campaign finance fraud scheme, the Justice Department announced.
Benjamin’s attorneys, James Gatta and William Harrington said that their client “will focus his energies on explaining in court why his actions were laudable — not criminal.”
According to the indictment, Benjamin allegedly participated in a scheme to obtain campaign contributions from a Harlem real estate developer in exchange for securing a state grant when he was a state senator.
Prosecutors said that the real estate developer involved in the alleged scheme, which ran from about 2019 to 2021, was Gerald Migdol.
Migdol was arrested last November with a charge on wire fraud in connection with the alleged scheme.
Migdol, however, was not named in the indictment charging Benjamin.
Benjamin is also accused of lying on a background check that followed Hochul’s decision to appoint him as lieutenant governor.
Benjamin faces five counts, including bribery, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit those offenses, and falsification of records, according to the indictment.
Despite his resignation, Benjamin will remain on the primary ballot as the endorsed candidate of the Democratic Party for the upcoming election as it was already too late for him to withdraw his nomination, in accordance with the state law.
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