New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin resigned Tuesday after he was arrested and charged in a federal bribery conspiracy case involving alleged fraudulent donations to a New York City comptroller run last year, Politico reports. Benjamin pleaded not guilty and was released on a $250,000 bond. Gov. Kathy Hochul said, "While the legal process plays out, it is clear to both of us that he cannot continue to serve as lieutenant governor.” Benjamin is still on the June 28 primary ballot and, as of now, both are seeking full four-year terms after stepping into their roles after the resignation of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Benjamin, 45, is accused of conspiring to direct $50,000 of state funds to a Harlem real estate investor to get the developer to ship illegal campaign contributions to Benjamin’s unsuccessful 2021 comptroller campaign. The indictment is the result of a federal investigation that has gone on for more than a year dating to Benjamin's role as a state senator from Harlem. “Benjamin abused his authority as a New York State senator, engaging in a bribery scheme using public funds for his own corrupt purposes,” the indictment reads. It contends that Benjamin “engaged in a series of lies and deceptions to cover up his scheme” that included falsifying campaign donor forms and providing “false information in vetting forms” he submitted “while under consideration to be appointed the next lieutenant governor of New York State."