February 26, 2017
Federal investigators interrogated New York City mayor Bill de Blasio for nearly five hours on Friday over his alleged involvement in a corruption scandal. The investigation into the matter has been ongoing for nearly a year.
According to CNN, de Blasio and his staff are "under scrutiny for issues related to fundraising for his 2013 campaign."
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That probe is centered around accusations by the New York State Board of Elections that members of the de Blasio administration skirted campaign finance laws in donations directed towards state senate campaigns in a 2014 election.
The New York Times reported in December that two separate grand juries had begun hearing testimony in both the federal and state cases. An interview between the mayor and prosecutors could indicate that the probes are coming to a head.
The Democratic mayor, who faces re-election this year, did not speak to reporters when he left the law offices of his attorney Friday afternoon. Those seen entering the building before the meeting included Andrew Goldstein, the head of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's public corruption unit, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell Capone.
Still, de Blasio has denied allegations of any wrongdoing.
"From the very beginning of these investigations, I've said that we did everything right. My team did everything right. I did everything right to abide by the law and comport ourselves in an ethical fashion," de Blasio said last month.
His spokesman, Eric Phillips, echoed that sentiment following Friday's meeting with federal investigators.
"We remain confident that at all times the mayor and his staff acted appropriately and well within the law," Phillips said. "We hope our continued cooperation will help bring a swift conclusion to the U.S. attorney's review. In the interest of protecting the integrity of this process, we will refrain from any further comment at this time."
However, reports indicate that two grand juries have been convened to hear the evidence against de Blasio and his staff. No charges have yet been filed. Still, the investigation will likely cost taxpayers millions.
In nearly eight years as U.S. attorney, Bharara has made public corruption a priority, winning convictions against numerous officials in both political parties, including the former New York assembly speaker, a Democrat, and the former New York Senate leader, a Republican. Both cases are on appeal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.