By Ben Johnson
New York Democrat Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin resigned Tuesday after he surrendered to the FBI regarding campaign finance fraud charges, NBC New York 4 reported.
Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, who was appointed governor after Andrew Cuomo resigned the office on Aug. 24, 2021, said she accepted 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,” Hochul said in a statement. “New Yorkers deserve absolute confidence in their government, and I will continue working every day to deliver for them.”
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Benjamin is also charged with two counts of falsifying records regarding contribution forms in a former campaign that falsely reported contributions, according to a Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney’s Office release. (RELATED: New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin Arrested For Alleged Campaign Finance Scheme)
“As charged, Lieutenant Governor Benjamin, while a New York State senator, used his official position to obtain donations to his political campaign,” DOI Commissioner Jocelyn E. Strauber said in the statement. “He allegedly allocated public grant funds to a non-profit controlled by a co-conspirator in exchange for campaign contributions, and then lied to hide this illegal scheme.”
Federal prosecutors previously indicted his fundraiser, Gerald Migdol, in November 2021 on fraud and identity theft.
The now-former lieutenant governor appeared in Manhattan federal court Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to bribery, fraud, conspiracy and falsification of records charges.
He was released on $250,000 bail.