Brian Benjamin Resigns: NAACP Chief Defends Indicted Ex-NY Lt Governor
The chief of New York’s NAACP chapter has provided a vehement protection of the state’s now-former lieutenant governor, who was indicted for alleged marketing campaign finance violations earlier than resigning from his highly effective submit on the identical day.
Brian Benjamin, who up till Tuesday was the second-most highly effective elected official within the state of New York, stepped down as lieutenant governor on Tuesday hours after he was indicted for what the New York Occasions described as allegedly “directing a brazen scheme to funnel unlawful donations to his previous political campaigns and canopy up the legal exercise.”
In layman’s phrases, Benjamin was accused of “bribery, trustworthy companies wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit these offenses,” based on a information launch from the U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace within the Southern District of New York.
The costs stem from 2019 when Benjamin was a State Senator and likewise served because the chair of the Income and Funds Subcommittee.
That was when he allegedly used his energy as an elected official to steer grant cash from the state to an actual property developer’s firm to safe marketing campaign contributions from that very same actual property developer, who was not recognized by the U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace. Benjamin can be accused of falsifying information linked to the true property developer’s contribution to make the donations seem as in the event that they got here from another person. As well as, Benjamin was charged for allegedly making false statements on a questionnaire associated to his ambitions to be lieutenant governor.
“Benjamin abused his energy and successfully used state funds to help his political campaigns,” U.S. Lawyer Damian Williams stated in an announcement.
However the chief of the New York State chapter of the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights group, predicted Benjamin could be vindicated of the costs as soon as the reality comes out.
“When that is throughout with, it’ll be what I do know: Brian didn’t do something to interrupt the legislation,” Hazel N. Dukes, president of the New York State chapter of the NAACP, informed the New York Occasions on Tuesday.
Dukes, who’s a former president of the nationwide NAACP group, was described by the Occasions as “considered one of Mr. Benjamin’s political mentors.” Notably, Dukes pleaded responsible in 1997 to stealing $13,000 from considered one of her staff who was affected by most cancers whereas she ran the Offtrack Betting Company, a playing firm.
Different political allies of Benjamin didn’t instantly launch statements about his indictment.
Benjamin grew to become New York’s lieutenant governor final yr following the resignation of then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who stays dogged by credible experiences of sexual harassment. When Cuomo resigned, then-Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul took over and chosen Benjamin to be her second in command.
He has beforehand been accused of different marketing campaign finance violations, together with final yr throughout his unsuccessful run for New York State Comptroller. In that occasion, 23 separate donations have been finally returned by Benjamin following an investigation that exposed one of many contributions was really credited to a toddler.
Benjamin, who had not been lieutenant governor for a full yr when he resigned Tuesday, stays on the poll for the Democratic main in June. The deadline to take away candidates’ names from the poll was Monday at midnight, hours earlier than Benjamin surrendered to the FBI Tuesday morning.
The Metropolis NY reported that Democratic operatives have been attempting to persuade Benjamin to re-establish his main residence out of state to make him ineligible for the election.
It is a creating story that might be up to date as further data turns into accessible.
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