In part, FBI agents seized the cell phones of New York City Mayor Eric Adams Federal investigation At the campaign fundraiser, a person familiar with the matter told CNN on Friday.
Agents seized phones and an iPod earlier this week pursuant to a court-authorized search warrant, the person said.
The seizure is a dramatic escalation of a federal investigation into the flow of foreign money to his campaign, brought directly to the mayor, a Democrat. The investigation is being handled by the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Adams has not yet been accused of any wrongdoing, but he is the latest politician to come under scrutiny for his ties to foreign governments — in his case, Turkey.
The seizure comes days after the FBI raided the home of Adams’ chief fundraiser as part of an investigation to determine whether the mayor’s 2021 campaign conspired with a Brooklyn-based construction company to funnel foreign money into campaign coffers.
The New York Times First reported Adams’ electronic devices were seized. To obtain a search warrant, prosecutors must convince a judge that there is probable cause that electronic devices contain evidence of a crime.
“As a former member of law enforcement, I expect all of my employees to follow the law and cooperate fully with any kind of investigation — and I will do exactly that,” Mayer said in a statement to CNN on Friday. “I have nothing to hide.”
The US Attorney’s Office and the FBI declined to comment.
Adams’ campaign lawyer and spokesman, Boyd Johnson, told CNN that after the FBI approached Adams following an event Monday night, the mayor “immediately complied with the FBI’s request and provided them with electronic devices.”
“After learning of the central government’s investigation, it was recently discovered that a person had misbehaved. In the spirit of transparency and cooperation, this behavior was reported to investigators immediately and as a precaution,” Johnson said.
“The mayor has not been accused of any wrongdoing and continues to cooperate with the investigation,” he added.
Mayer delivered a speech at New York University’s Kimmel Center on Monday, according to his public schedule. Later, FBI agents approached Adams on the street and “walked up to him,” two sources close to the mayor told CNN.
According to sources, the agents asked him to leave his NYPD security detail. They then got into Adams’ city-issued SUV and served him with a warrant to seize his electronics.
The mayor usually reads public comments from an iPad and carries two phones. All three devices have been handed over to the FBI, the sources said.
After the FBI His top fundraiser’s house was raided On Nov. 2, Adams said he immediately ordered a review of campaign records to determine whether anyone had “acted improperly.”
Sources told CNN that a review by campaign and City Hall attorneys found evidence of “one individual” acting improperly. The sources declined to comment on who the person was or what role they played in the campaign.
Prosecutors then briefed investigators on their findings.
“It looks like they used that information to get a warrant and his devices,” the sources said.
That same night, upon returning home, Adams reviewed another set of electronics and devices, and he also returned them to law enforcement. Sources described the devices as “old phones”.
Teams of FBI agents executed “numerous search warrants” on Nov. 2 at homes and businesses across the New York area, including one at the home of the chief fundraiser for Adams’ campaign, Briana Suggs, multiple law enforcement sources told CNN.
Law enforcement officials familiar with last week’s search warrants told CNN that investigators are looking for evidence that foreign nationals — who are barred from contributing — may be “pooling” donations by going to New York’s Turkish American communities and receiving American citizens of Turkish descent. Act as “straw contributors”.
The alleged scheme would allow money from foreign businesses to be disguised as donations from US citizens who did not actually donate the money.
Adams defended his campaign to reporters on Wednesday.
“It would shock me if someone hired by my campaign did something inappropriate. It would not only shock me, it would hurt me,” Adams said.
The mayor touted his ties to the city’s Turkish American community and noted that he has visited the country at least six or seven times during a recent flag-raising ceremony in Lower Manhattan.
Adams traveled to Turkey at least twice as Brooklyn Borough President. The Turkish Embassy paid for the August 2015 trip, during which he signed a sister city agreement with Istanbul’s Üsküdar district.
The same U.S. Attorney’s Office in September Sen. Bob Menendez charged, a New Jersey Democrat accused of accepting bribes in exchange for helping the Egyptian government, along with corruption-related crimes. Menendez Innocent to the charges.
This story has been updated with additional updates.
CNN’s John Miller, Paul B. Murphy, Jeff Winter and Mark Morales contributed to this report.