In a stunning turn of events, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) seized New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ personal iPhones and iPad on Monday night as part of an ongoing corruption probe into his campaign fundraising activities.
The seizure of the mayor’s electronic devices signals an escalation in the investigation and raises serious questions about Adams’ potential involvement in improper fundraising schemes.
FBI Agents Approach Mayor Adams on the Street
According to sources familiar with the matter, FBI agents approached Mayor Adams on the street after an event on Monday night. The agents asked the mayor’s security detail to step aside before confronting him directly and demanding his electronic devices.
Adams complied immediately and handed over two iPhones and an iPad to the agents. The devices were returned to the mayor a few days later after the FBI presumably copied their contents for review.
The stunning seizure happened just two days before Adams fielded questions from reporters at a weekly news conference. The mayor did not reveal anything about the FBI confiscating his phones and tablet at that time.
Investigation Focuses on Foreign Campaign Donations
The seizure appears connected to an ongoing federal corruption probe into Adams’ fundraising activities during his 2021 mayoral campaign.
Specifically, investigators have been looking into whether the campaign accepted illegal straw donations from foreign sources, including businessmen tied to the Turkish government.
Earlier this year, the FBI raided the home of Adams’ former chief campaign fundraiser, Briana Suggs, as part of the same investigation. However, sources say the information recently turned over to the FBI relating to the seizure of Adams’ devices did not involve Suggs but another individual close to the mayor.
Mayor’s Campaign Attorney Suggests Another Person Acted Improperly
In a statement, Adams’ campaign attorney Boyd Johnson seemed to imply that someone within the mayor’s inner circle — but not Adams himself — may have acted inappropriately regarding campaign fundraising.
Johnson said in part: “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.”
By suggesting another person close to Adams may have acted improperly in some way, the statement seems to be an attempt to create separation between the mayor and the ongoing investigation.
Expert: This Raises the Stakes for Mayor Adams
Legal experts say that while there is no clear indication yet of criminal wrongdoing by Mayor Adams, the seizure of his electronic devices significantly raises the stakes for him in the ongoing federal probe.
According to Kean University Provost David Birdsell, “Up until this moment, nobody had made any allegations about the mayor’s involvement in the potential alleged fundraising from foreign sources, in this case, Turkish sources, but now they’re seizing his devices.”
What Were the FBI Agents Looking For?
Former U.S. Attorney Zachary Carter told reporters the FBI was most likely looking for communications that could provide evidence of improper fundraising or coordination.
“Text messages, you will find. Emails, you will find. And just as importantly, you’re gonna find evidence of when calls were made or received and who made or received those calls,” Carter said.
By taking possession of Adams’ smartphones and tablet, investigators are likely hoping to find incriminating conversations, email threads, contact logs, and text exchanges that may reveal deeper connections to the suspected fundraising scheme.
Adams Pledges Full Cooperation
In his own statement on the matter, Mayor Adams said: “As a former member of law enforcement, 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.”
While asserting his willingness to cooperate fully, Adams notably did not provide any substantive information or explanation about the nature of the investigation itself.
A Developing Case
The FBI seizure of Adams’ personal electronic devices marks a significant development in the ongoing probe of foreign influence in the financing of his mayoral campaign.
Legal experts caution that while the action raises red flags, it does not necessarily implicate Adams himself at this point in time. Still, it signals that federal investigators are aggressively pursuing evidence of potential criminality in the mayor’s inner circle.
The case appears to be developing quickly, and additional investigative moves could be on the horizon. Adams and his associates may face increased scrutiny — and pressure to cooperate fully — as the FBI works to uncover the truth about how the mayor’s campaign was funded.
For now, the people of New York City are left to wonder who else may be involved, what backroom deals may have taken place, and what additional revelations may surface as this high-profile corruption investigation continues unfolding.
The FBI seizure of Mayor Eric Adams’ personal electronic devices sends shockwaves through New York City and marks a dramatic turning point in the investigation of foreign influence in his campaign financing. While Adams has pledged full cooperation, legal experts say the action raises the stakes for the mayor and suggests investigators are focused directly on key figures within his inner circle. This developing case will bear close watching as federal authorities work to unravel the full extent of potential criminality and corruption surrounding the Adams mayoral campaign. However, definitive answers likely await further investigative actions by the FBI and other law enforcement entities in the weeks and months to come