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Democrat lieutenant governor of New York resigns after being indicted on bribery charges

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Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The lieutenant governor of the state of New York, a Democrat, resigned on Tuesday after he was indicted on charges of bribery related to campaign fraud.

Brian Benjamin turned himself over to federal authorities on Tuesday morning over charges of bribery, fraud, and falsification of records.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said that Benjamin's resignation would be effective immediately.

"While the legal process plays out, it is clear to both of us that he cannot continue to serve as Lieutenant Governor," she said. "New Yorkers deserve absolute confidence in their government, and I will continue working every day to deliver for them.”

Benjamin is accused of funneling a $50,000 state grant to a Harlem real estate developer who had allegedly donated to the politician's campaign coffers. That developer gave two $10,000 personal checks to Benjamin made in the name of his relatives in order to escape detection from officials, according to prosecutors.

"As alleged, Brian Benjamin used his power as a New York state senator to secure a state-funded grant in exchange for contributions to his own political campaigns," read a statement from Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. "By doing so, Benjamin abused his power and effectively used state funds to support his political campaigns."

Benjamin appeared before a federal judge in New York City and pleaded not guilty to all five counts.

He was appointed lieutenant governor by Hochul in 2021 after she became governor when the disgraced Andrew Cuomo resigned in Aug. 2021, over numerous accusations of sexual harassment.

When Hochul was asked to comment on the investigation into Benjamin a week ago, she expressed confidence in her lieutenant governor.

"I have utmost confidence in my lieutenant governor," said Hochul at the time. "This is an independent investigation related to other people, and he is fully cooperating."

Here's more about Benjamin's alleged bribery:

New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin resigns www.youtube.com

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