Ex-Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin makes case to dismiss bribery indictment


Attorneys for former New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin requested a choose to toss his bribery case on Wednesday, arguing federal prosecutors have failed to obviously present there was an “express quid professional quo” between the disgraced lawmaker and a marketing campaign donor.

In a Manhattan federal courtroom listening to, protection legal professional Barry Berke repeatedly accused prosecutors of improperly charging Benjamin in what he known as the “most aggressive political corruption case ever made by the US authorities.”

Benjamin — who resigned from his publish as Gov. Kathy Hochul’s No. 2 after his indictment in April — faces bribery conspiracy expenses tied to an alleged marketing campaign finance scheme that dates again to his days as a state senator. 

He’s accused of accepting contributions for his state senate and metropolis comptroller campaigns from Harlem actual property developer Gerald Migdol in trade for steering state funds to the donor’s non-profit. 

Berke argued to Decide Paul Oetken that as a result of the allegations cope with contributions, prosecutors should show an settlement was “expressly” said and that there was an express quid professional quo. 

Former New York Lt. Governor Brian Benjamin leaves the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse on Aug. 10, 2022.
Alec Tabak

“Merely asking for cash earlier than or after a profit, that can not be sufficient,” he stated. 

If that normal was utilized throughout US politics, Berke continued, it could have a “chilling impact” on lawmakers nationwide who’ve sought to assist a given business via laws.  

When pressed by Oetken that the indictment does allege the Benjamin accepted contributions “in trade for” the state funds, Berke stated prosecutors have been making an attempt to”fulfill components of the statute,” however failed to point out a legislation had been damaged. 

Assistant US Legal professional Jarrod Schaeffer argued that the costs are “firmly grounded within the legislation” and they’re a “straight ahead and cheap software” of the bribery statute. 

Brian Benjamin and Gerald Migdol
Brian Benjamin and Gerald Migdol attending a September 2019 golf fundraiser for Migdol’s group.
Fb/Gerald Migdol

He added that prosecutors do imagine there was a transparent quid professional quo between the pair wherein the lawmaker aided Migdol’s non-profit in trade for marketing campaign money. 

The fees, Schaeffer stated, differentiate between above-board donations Benjamin acquired from Migdol and people accepted as a part of the quid professional quo. 

Benjamin and other people in his orbit, he added, made “efforts to obscure the origin of these marketing campaign contributions” — however admitted they may have finished so as a result of they have been illegally bundled donations. 

Decide Oetken stated he would difficulty a choice on whether or not or to not toss the case at a later date. 

Gerald Migdol, left, pictured with Brian Benjamn.
Benjamin is accused of accepting contributions for his state senate and metropolis comptroller campaigns from Gerald Migdol in trade for sending state funds to Migdol’s non-profit.

Berke represented former Mayor Invoice de Blasio when he confronted scrutiny by state and federal prosecutors associated to his fundraising for his 2013 mayoral bid and his Marketing campaign for One New York nonprofit.

De Blasio was not charged, partly as a result of, much like in Benjamin’s case, there was no allegation that he acquired private advantages via his fundraising efforts.

Benjamin has pleaded not responsible.

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