NY Mayor Eric Adams raised $650k online for legal defense amid criminal investigation

NY Mayor Eric Adams raised $650k online for legal defense amid criminal investigation
(CNN) — The legal defense fund of New York City Mayor Eric Adams told CNN on Monday that it has gathered more than $500,000 as federal authorities investigate his 2021 campaign for public misconduct.

The Eric Adams Legal Defense Trust has raised almost $650,000 since its formation two months ago, according to fund attorney Vito Pitta, CNN reported. The fund must report its first batch of donations to the city's Conflict of Interest Board by Tuesday.

According to board instructions, city employees can create legal defense funds to pay for specific legal expenditures and expenses.

The board instructed the New York Democrat's legal defense fund to record all contributors who contribute above $100 every reporting period.

Officials informed on the Adams inquiry say it focuses on campaign money, favors, and foreign interference. Adams hired WilmerHale after federal authorities began investigating his campaign, even though he has not been charged.

CNN contacted WilmerHale and Adams lawyers for comment.

The mayor started the legal defense fund in November, shortly after the FBI raided his 2021 mayoral campaign top fundraiser's house.

Adams stated in an affidavit that the Eric Adams Legal Defense Trust is “necessitated by and intended to defray legal expenses in connection with the inquiries by the office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York related to the operations of the Adams 2021 mayoral campaign

After the fundraiser's house search, authorities took the mayor's cell phones and iPad.

CNN said that law enforcement officials familiar with the search warrants were seeking proof that foreign nationals, who cannot make political contributions, may have “bundled” payments by using US individuals of Turkish descent as “straw contributors.” The claimed plan would have disguised foreign company donations as American donations.

“We don't do straw donors or quid pro quo – we follow the law, I'm very clear on that,” Adams said in November.

A Brooklyn construction company controlled by a Turkish American businessman is being investigated for allegedly gathering employees and others to write cheques to the Adams campaign and then paying the contributors back in full, violating campaign finance regulations.

Adams has visited Turkey six times and has a strong relationship with New York City's Turkish American community.

Adams claims his campaign followed all laws and is participating with the inquiry.

Jon Miller, Mark Morales, Celina Tebor, and Kristina Sgueglia of CNN contributed to this story.
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