FBI Seizes Electronic Devices From New York City Mayor – This week, the FBI heightened its investigation into potential public corruption linked to New York City Mayor Eric Adams‘ 2021 mayoral campaign by confiscating numerous electronic devices. Following an event on Monday night, agents approached the mayor and, as confirmed by Adams’ attorney, he promptly complied with their request.
On Friday, The New York Times initially reported the incident, depicting a notable event where FBI officials intercepted the mayor on the street. They requested the mayor’s security detail to step aside, then entered Adams’ city-issued vehicle, seizing a minimum of two cellphones and an iPad. The investigators retained the devices for several days, a common practice involving the creation of copies, before eventually returning them.
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According to an anonymous source familiar with the situation, City Hall voluntarily surrendered additional electronic devices following the initial seizure. The source requested anonymity to discuss behind-the-scenes events in the aftermath of the seizure. There are currently no accusations of wrongdoing against Adams or his staff.
However, the confiscation of his electronic devices follows an FBI raid on November 2 at the residence of his campaign treasurer, 25-year-old Brianna Suggs. A search warrant obtained by the Times revealed that agents were searching for evidence of potential collusion with the Turkish government and acceptance of illicit contributions from Turkish citizens within Suggs’ home.
In a statement on Friday, Adams’ attorney, Boyd Johnson of WilmerHale, suggested that someone else had been referred to federal authorities, although no details were provided. “After learning of the federal investigation, it was discovered that an individual had recently acted improperly,” Johnson said. “In the spirit of transparency and cooperation, this behavior was immediately and proactively reported to investigators.”
Adams himself said that he was complying with the investigation. “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 exactly that,” he said in a statement Friday evening. “I have nothing to hide.” Two City Hall staffers reported to news outlets that information about the seizure was not broadly communicated to administration employees. They stated that they initially became aware of the FBI’s actions through the report in the Times.
“The story popped up, then I read it. It said they took [the devices] and they gave them back,” said Diane Savino, a senior adviser to the mayor’s chief adviser, Ingrid Lewis-Martin. “I know as much as you do.” “They’re keeping this close,” said another staffer who was granted anonymity to discuss internal dynamics. However, the increased involvement of federal law enforcement appeared to inspire potential contenders to challenge the mayor in 2025.
“For someone who claims to get stuff done, I really wish he would get work done,” state Sen. Jessica Ramos, a Democrat, said in an interview Friday. “This is all very distracting.” Ramos has not ruled out a potential primary challenge in 2025. While thousands of New York political figures were attending the annual Somos conference in Puerto Rico, news broke about the seizure. In various receptions at a San Juan hotel, the topic swiftly shifted to the news, with two elected officials drawing parallels to a Netflix drama.
“The investigation has to take its course,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, another potential mayoral challenger. “But we would be foolish to say that something isn’t different.” A mayoral spokesperson countered that City Hall has not deviated from its mission. “Mayor Adams announced another month of crime being down this past week, a record high number of jobs in our city’s history last month, and continues to deliver every day for working-class New Yorkers,” spokesperson Fabien Levy said in a statement.
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“Like the mayor likes to say, ‘stay focused, no distractions, and grind.’” Following the seizure of Adams’ devices, he gave remarks at a New York University event that night. Subsequently, the mayor was slated to participate in a Tribeca fundraiser for PCNY, an organization that collaborates on a weekly food distribution event for homeless New Yorkers, an event Adams frequently attends. On Friday, Wayne Schneider, the host of the fundraiser, chose not to comment on whether Adams attended.
During the raid at Suggs’ house last week, Adams was in Washington, D.C., participating in high-level meetings on the migrant crisis with federal officials, including the White House, alongside two other big-city mayors. Despite initially proceeding with his schedule, the mayor abruptly returned to New York before his first engagement. During a press briefing on Wednesday, Adams commended Suggs and defended his campaign but made no reference to or mention of the seizure of his devices.