Bribery and Fraud Charges Reinstated Against Former New York Lieutenant Governor

Credits: RadarOnline

A federal appeals court has reinstated bribery and fraud charges against former New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin, overturning a previous ruling that had significantly reduced the scope of the case.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan determined that there was sufficient evidence to suggest that Benjamin had promised to perform an official act in exchange for monetary payments from a real estate developer who contributed to his campaign.

The decision marks a significant development in the legal proceedings against Benjamin, who resigned as lieutenant governor after his arrest in April 2022.

Former New York Lieutenant Governor (Credits: Spectrum News)

His arrest had caused a political crisis for Gov. Kathy Hochul, who had appointed him as her second-in-command following the resignation of Andrew Cuomo amid a sexual harassment scandal.

Benjamin, the state’s second Black lieutenant governor, had a legislative career focused on criminal justice reform and affordable housing. His district included much of central Harlem, where he was born and raised by Caribbean immigrant parents.

Former New York Lieutenant Governor (Credits: NBC New York)

In its ruling, the appeals court rejected the argument that Benjamin’s alleged agreement with the developer would not be considered illegal as long as it was not explicitly memorialized in words or in writing.

The court emphasized that Benjamin had fair warning that such an agreement would be unlawful. Benjamin’s lawyer, Barry Berke, did not immediately respond to requests for comment, while prosecutors declined to comment on the ruling.

The case against Benjamin will now proceed with the reinstated bribery and fraud charges, marking a significant legal setback for the former lieutenant governor.

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