New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin resigned on Tuesday after he was arrested for campaign finance-related federal bribery conspiracy charges, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said in a statement.
What they’re saying: “While the legal process plays out, it is clear to both of us that he cannot continue to serve as Lieutenant Governor,” Hochul said.
- Benjamin’s resignation is effective immediately, she added.
Details: Benjamin pleaded not guilty to the charges on Tuesday during a brief appearance in Manhattan federal court, Reuters reports.
- Hochul was not believed to have been aware of the charges, the New York Times notes.
Driving the news: A federal indictment charges Benjamin with conspiring to funnel state funds to a Harlem real estate investor in exchange for illegal campaign contributions in 2021.
The big picture: The Harlem real estate investor, Gerald Migdol, was arrested in November on fraud and identity theft charges, according to the Times, the first to report on the arrest.
- Prosecutors said Migdol directed thousands of dollars worth of fraudulent contributions to Benjamin in October 2019, one month after he filed to run for state comptroller.
- Federal prosecutors and the FBI issued subpoenas in recent weeks to investigate Benjamin’s potential connection with the campaign finance scheme.
- Benjamin was appointed lieutenant governor by Hochul in 2021. He previously served as a New York state senator.
Editor’s note: This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.