The FBI seized Mayor Eric Adams’ phone and other electronic devices earlier this week, seemingly in connection with a federal corruption investigation into his 2021 mayoral campaign, according to the mayor’s campaign.
The revelation comes just a week after the investigation was thrust into public view when the home of Adams’ top fundraiser — Brianna Suggs — was raided by federal agents last Thursday. Authorities questioned 25-year-old Suggs and reportedly walked out of her house with three phones, two laptops and a “manila folder labeled Eric Adams” — according to reporting from the New York Times.
“On Monday night, the FBI approached the mayor after an event. The mayor immediately complied with the FBI’s request and provided them with electronic devices. The mayor has not been accused of any wrongdoing and continues to cooperate with the investigation,” said the mayor’s newly retained attorney Boyd Johnson, in a statement.
The investigation at the heart of the matter, being led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York, is reportedly looking into whether the mayor’s 2021 campaign coordinated with the Turkish government to receive illegal contributions from foreign donors through a Brooklyn construction company and Turkish-affiliated university in Washington D.C.
Johnson also said that an unnamed individual was “discovered” to have “recently acted improperly.” But Adams’ campaign spokesperson Evan Theis did not clarify if that individual was Suggs or someone else altogether when asked by amNewYork Metro.
“After learning of the federal investigation, it was discovered that an individual had recently acted improperly,” Johnson said. “In the spirit of transparency and cooperation, this behavior was immediately and proactively reported to investigators. The mayor has been and remains committed to cooperating in this matter.”
Adams, in his own statement, maintained that he will fully cooperate with the investigation and that he has “nothing to hide.”
Federal authorities stopped Adams on the street and asked his security detail to step away, according to a Friday afternoon report from the NY Times. They then climbed into his S.U.V. with him and seized two of his cell phones and an iPad.
The devices were returned to the mayor within days, the report said, as law enforcement personnel with a search warrant can make copies of the data on devices after seizing them.
The mayor did not mention his devices being seized during a roughly 45-minute press conference on Wednesday almost entirely devoted to the investigation. In the briefing, Adams said he would be “shocked” if his campaign was accused of coordinating to break the law.
“I just cannot tell you how much I start the day with telling my team ‘you gotta follow the law, you gotta follow the law,’ almost to the point that I’m annoying,” he said at the time. “I just strongly believe that you have to follow the law. It would really shock me if someone that was hired by my campaign did something that was inappropriate. Not only would it shock me, it would hurt me.”