Spring Flowers

The first daffodils appear on Astor Row.

Former Harlem State Senator, Brian Benjamin, Facing Felony Bribery and Fraud Charges

Former New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin is once again facing felony bribery and fraud charges after a federal appeals court overturned a previous dismissal. The court found that Benjamin, a former state senator from Harlem, allegedly orchestrated a bribery scheme by directing a state grant to a real-estate developer’s non-profit organization in exchange for political campaign contributions. Despite Benjamin’s attorney maintaining his innocence and arguing that the allegations are false, the court’s decision reinstates charges that had previously been dismissed by a district judge in late 2022. Benjamin resigned from his position as lieutenant governor in April 2022 following his arrest, which ended his brief tenure of just seven months in office.

The case against Benjamin now faces a significant hurdle with the death of the real-estate developer, Gerald Migdol, who was a key witness. Prosecutors are left without crucial testimony to support their allegations. However, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan remains determined to pursue the case against Benjamin. The decision by the federal appeals court highlights the legal complexities surrounding the allegations, particularly concerning the requirement of an explicit “quid pro quo” in bribery cases.