The New York Times reported on Friday that, as part of a federal corruption investigation into Democratic Mayor Eric Adams of New York, the FBI has seized mobile phones from Adams.
According to the Times, the investigation focuses on whether the Adams campaign accepted illegitimate contributions from the Turkish government.
The search warrant was executed by the FBI on November 2 at the residence of Brianna Suggs, a 25-year-old former intern and fundraiser for Adams’ 2021 mayoral campaign. The purpose of the search was to seize communications devices and records in order to ascertain whether the campaign had knowingly solicited or accepted donations from Turkey via multiple U.S. entities.
The Times reports that the FBI impounded Adams’ personal electronic devices, including an Apple iPad and two mobile phones, shortly thereafter as part of the investigation.
Breaking News: The FBI seized Mayor Eric Adams’s phones amid an investigation of his 2021 campaign, people close to the matter said. Agents approached Adams on the street before getting into his SUV with him and seizing the devices, one of the people said. https://t.co/kWgJa4xTup
— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 10, 2023
According to the report, FBI agents confronted the mayor in public and presented a court-ordered warrant for his devices. They subsequently returned the devices a few days later, having duplicated their data.
The FBI reportedly seized two personal computers, three Apple iPhones, and a folder labeled “Eric Adams” from Suggs’ residence during its operation on November 2, according to the Times.
— Curtis Sliwa (@CurtisSliwa) November 3, 2023
Although the return of those devices remains uncertain, Briggs has been served with a subpoena to provide testimony in front of a grand jury that was formed to scrutinize the campaign.
The campaign donations that have become the subject of the investigation appear to have originated from two domestic sources: Bay Atlantic University, a Turkish-owned institution in Washington that has maintained a connection with Adams since his tenure as borough president of Brooklyn, and KSK Construction Group, a construction company based in Brooklyn whose employees contributed $14,000.
Adams travelled to Turkey for university-related business.
The Adams campaign is the subject of a federal investigation, which is among multiple criminal proceedings associated with his 2021 candidacy.
Seven contributors to the campaign have been indicted on multiple counts by Democratic District Attorney Alvin Bragg of Manhattan. The charges include conspiracy to bribe and conspiracy to funnel unlawful donations.
On September 22, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York indicted Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, another politician from the New York metropolitan area, on charges that he purportedly represented the Egyptian government as a foreign agent.
The FBI and Adams’ office failed to respond to a request for comment at this time.