Electronic devices including at least two mobile phones belonging to New York City mayor Eric Adams were seized by the FBI as the agency escalated a corruption investigation into his victorious 2021 campaign, the New York Times reported Friday.
It follows an FBI raid earlier this month on the home of Brianna Suggs, Adams’s leading campaign fundraiser, in which agents reportedly confiscated two laptop computers and three cellphones.
Previous reports said Adams and his campaign team repeatedly refused regulators’ request to divulge the source of about $300,000 in donations, although it was not clear whether a violation of campaign finance rules was part of the inquiry.
According to the Times, FBI agents earlier this week took “at least two cellphones and an iPad” belonging to Adams, days after the 2 November raid on Suggs’s Brooklyn residence.
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Sources told the newspaper that agents approached Adams in the street and asked his security detail to step away while they entered his vehicle and seized the devices under the authorization of a court-issued warrant.
The paper added all the equipment was returned to him “within a matter of days”, noting that the warrant allowed the FBI to copy data contained on the devices.
In a statement issued through a spokesperson on Friday afternoon, Adams, a former New York police department captain, said he had been fully cooperative.
“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 that,” he said. “I have nothing to hide.”
His campaign attorney, Boyd Johnson, said in his own statement: “The mayor has not been accused of any wrongdoing and continues to cooperate with the investigation.
“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 did not elaborate on who the person was or what they were found to have done.
The FBI investigation, the two sources told the Times, is looking into whether Adams’s 2021 campaign “conspired with the Turkish government and others to funnel money into its coffers”.
The warrant, it said, sought records about donations from Bay Atlantic University, a Washington DC college whose founder is Turkish and is affiliated with a school Adams is said to have visited when he went to Turkey as Brooklyn borough president in 2015.
The donations previously reported to be in question came from about 500 different donors, the local New York City news publication the City said.
Adams’s campaign counsel, Vito Pitta, said at the time: “The campaign has responded to every notice from [the campaign finance board] as appropriate.”
The New York Times said the FBI and the US attorney’s office for the southern district of New York declined comment Friday.
Immediately after the raid on the home of Suggs, Adams returned to New York from Washington DC, where he had scheduled meetings with White House and congressional leaders to talk about immigration.
He said he did so out of compassion for Suggs, a 25-year-old former intern promoted to be his chief fundraiser.
“Although I am mayor, I have not stopped being a man and a human,” he said.