Judge throws out bribery, fraud charges pending against former Lt. Gov. Benjamin
Raga Justin reports for the Times Union that a federal judge on Dec. 5 dismissed bribery and fraud charges pending against former Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin. His arrest, based on allegations of federal corruption, lead to his resignation from the Hochul administration in April. In his decision, U.S. Judge Paul Oetken granted Benjamin’s request to dismiss three counts of bribery and honest services wire fraud, acknowledging the indictment filed by federal prosecutors, “failed to allege an explicit quid pro quo.” Oetken did not dismiss two other charges related to the falsification of records. At the time of his indictment, the U.S. attorney's office described the case as "a simple story of corruption" involving a quid pro quo scheme, stemming from Benjamin’s 2021 campaign for New York City Comptroller. Prosecutors alleged he secured campaign contributions from real estate developer Gerald Migdol, in exchange for steering $50,000 in taxpayer funds to a nonprofit organization that Migdol ran, Friends of Public School Harlem. Read more in the Times Union.