FBI agents seize cell phones and iPad of New York City Mayor Eric Adams in fundraising investigation
New York City (CNN) –– FBI agents have seized the cell phones and iPad of New York City Mayor, Eric Adams, as part of a federal investigation into fundraising, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN on Friday.
The seizure represents a drastic escalation of the federal investigation and focuses it squarely on the mayor, a Democrat. The investigation is being led by the FBI and the federal prosecutor’s office for the Southern District of New York.
In a statement sent to CNN on Friday, Adams said he has “nothing to hide” following the search. “As a former member of law enforcement, I expect all members of my staff to follow the law and cooperate fully with any type of investigation, and I will continue to do exactly that. I have nothing to hide,” he noted.
Adams’ campaign attorney and spokesman, Boyd Johnson, told CNN that the mayor “immediately complied with the FBI’s request and provided them with electronic devices” after the FBI approached the mayor following an event this Monday. “The mayor has not been charged with any crime and continues to cooperate with the investigation,” the spokesperson added.
The seizure comes days after the FBI searched the home of Adams’ top fundraiser as part of the investigation into whether the mayor’s 2021 campaign conspired with a Brooklyn-based construction company to funnel foreign money into coffers.
Law enforcement officials say that investigators are looking for evidence that foreign nationals, who are prohibited from making contributions, may have “pooled” donations by going to Turkish communities in New York and getting American citizens of Turkish origin to act as “front taxpayers.”
The alleged scheme would have allowed money from foreign business entities to be masked as donations from U.S. citizens who did not actually donate the money.
Teams of FBI agents executed “numerous search warrants” at homes and businesses throughout the New York area on Nov. 2, including one at the home of top Adams campaign fundraiser Brianna Suggs. Last week, Adams called Suggs “a true professional,” according to CNN affiliate WCBS.
The mayor has touted his ties to the city’s Turkish-American community, noting at a recent flag-raising ceremony in Lower Manhattan that he had visited the country at least six or seven times.
Adams traveled to Turkey at least twice as Brooklyn borough president. The Turkish consulate paid for a trip in August 2015 during which he signed a sister city agreement with Istanbul’s Üsküdar district.