The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has seized electronic devices belonging to New York City Mayor Eric Adams as part of an ongoing investigation into potential illegal foreign donations to his 2021 mayoral campaign, according to the mayor’s attorney.
Agents Approached Adams After Event, Seized Phones and iPad
On Monday, November 7, FBI agents approached Adams on the street after he left an event and requested that he hand over electronic devices in his possession. Adams complied and provided the agents with at least two iPhones and an iPad, according to Boyd Johnson, an attorney representing Adams’ mayoral campaign.
The devices were returned just a few days later, but it marks a significant escalation in the federal probe into whether Adams’ campaign conspired with the Turkish government to funnel foreign money from Turkish sources into his election fund.
Adams Denies Wrongdoing, Vows to Cooperate Fully
In a statement Friday, November 11, Adams reiterated that he has done nothing wrong and will continue to cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation.
“After learning of the federal investigation, it was discovered that an individual had recently acted improperly. In the spirit of transparency and cooperation, this behavior was immediately and proactively reported to investigators,” Johnson said.
Adams stated, “I expect all members of my staff to follow the law and fully cooperate with any sort of investigation, and I will continue to do exactly that. I have nothing to hide.”
The mayor has not been accused of any criminal activity, but the seizure of his electronics suggests the investigation is intensifying and focusing more closely on Adams himself.
FBI Probe Examining Alleged Turkish Government Ties
Federal investigators are specifically looking into whether Adams’ campaign illegally conspired with the Turkish government to receive foreign donations funneled through straw donors.
Three American members of the Turken Foundation – founded by Bilal Erdogan, son of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – donated $6,000 to Adams’ campaign between 2018-2021.
While claiming to promote Turkish-American relations, the foundation has faced allegations of working on behalf of the Erdogan family. The FBI is probing whether Turkish officials used American conduits to illegally contribute foreign money to Adams’ campaign.
Adams has made frequent trips to Turkey as part of his efforts to attract international business to New York but maintains he always follows the law.
Raid Last Week on Top Fundraiser’s Home
The seizure of Adams’ electronics comes on the heels of an FBI raid last week on the Brooklyn home of his chief campaign fundraiser, Brianna Suggs.
Suggs was present during the November 2 search but was not arrested or accused of any criminal misconduct. She has declined to comment on the investigation.
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The 25-year-old consultant has been a key fundraiser for Adams since first interning for him in 2017. Her firm has been paid nearly $100,000 by his 2025 re-election campaign.
It remains unclear whether the raid on Suggs’ home was directly related to the seizure of Adams’ devices days later.
Other Legal Issues Plague Adams Administration
Beyond the federal probe into his campaign finances, Adams is also dealing with legal troubles involving close associates in his administration.
In September, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg indicted former NYC Buildings Commissioner Eric Ulrich for allegedly taking bribes from Adams officials in exchange for favors and access to City Hall.
While not accused himself, the ongoing investigations cast a shadow over Adams’ tenure so far as mayor of the nation’s largest city.
Adams – a former police captain elected on a law-and-order platform – will likely continue facing intense scrutiny as the twin investigations unfold in the coming weeks and months.
Key Questions Remain Unanswered
Many key details around the federal inquiry into Adams’ campaign fundraising remain unclear.
It is unknown exactly what triggered the investigation in the first place, or what evidence has been uncovered so far implicating potential coordination with foreign governments.
The person whom Adams’ attorney alleged had “recently acted improperly” has also not been publicly identified.
What is clear is that the dramatic seizure of Adams’ electronics has brought the mayor himself into the orbit of the widening federal probe.
Legal experts and political observers will be closely monitoring the case for any bombshell developments as prosecutors seem to be zeroing in on Adams and his inner circle.
The investigation throws into uncertainty Adams’ political future as he prepares to run for a second term as New York mayor in 2025.