DEVELOPING: Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin arrested on federal campaign finance charges: report

Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin speaks during his swearing in ceremony on Sept. 9, 2021.
Darren McGee/Office of the Governor

Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin was arrested Tuesday morning on federal charges that he funneled state funds to a real estate developer in exchange for campaign donations, The New York Times reports.

The state’s second-in-line to Governor Kathy Hochul allegedly funneled state funds to a donor while he was in the state Senate, and the investor organized thousands of dollars in contributions to Benjamin’s failed bid for New York City comptroller in the scheme that lasted from 2019 to 2021.

The Harlem real estate investor in question, Gerald Migdol, was arrested on wire fraud in November.

Benjamin is scheduled to appear before a judge in Manhattan federal court some time Tuesday, according to Joseph Pecorino, a spokesperson for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Hochul stood by Benjamin last week even as it became clear that he was the focus of an inquiry by federal prosecutors and the FBI.

“I have utmost confidence in my lieutenant governor. This is an independent investigation relating to other people and he’s fully cooperating,” the governor told reporters in Albany during a budget-related press conference on April 7. “He is my running mate.”

The governor’s office did not immediately respond for comment.