Vice-Governor of New York, indicted for corruption, resigns

Brian Benjamin is accused of “engaging in a series of lies and deceptions in order to conceal the mechanism of corruption”.

The Democratic vice-governor of New York State was indicted on Tuesday for corruption by the American federal justice and resigned after only a few months in power, announced the American authorities.

“Brian Benjamin, Vice Governor of New York State, has been charged with bribery and other related offenses,” the Manhattan Federal Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

The 45-year-old deputy state governor “went to the FBI in Manhattan this morning” and was brought before a federal judge, it said.

“Hijacking a State-Managed Subsidy”

In the evening, the governor of New York State Kathy Hochul, the fourth most populous state in the United States (some 20 million inhabitants), announced that she had “accepted the resignation with immediate effect” from his deputy.

“It is clear to both of them that he could not continue to serve as vice-governor. New Yorkers must have absolute confidence in their government”, insisted Kathy Hochul, an elected Democrat.

Brian Benjamin is accused of having, from 2019, “used his authority” as an elected member of the state legislature in order to “divert a grant managed by the state (of New York) into a controlled organization by a real estate investor in exchange for contributions” to his campaign to be elected in 2021 as New York City’s Comptroller of Finance.

The grant, amounting to $50,000, was paid to a non-profit organization controlled by the real estate investor.

He faces up to 10 years in prison.

Brian Benjamin is also accused of providing false documents when declaring his candidacy for vice-governor in the 2022 election, and of “engaging in a series of lies and deceptions in order to conceal the mechanism of corruption”.

He faces up to 10 years in prison on the bribery charge, and up to 20 years on the other counts, including falsification of documents. Brian Benjamin took the post of vice-governor of New York in August to replace Kathy Hochul, who became governor herself after the resignation of her predecessor Andrew Cuomo, accused of sexual assault.

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