A January trial date was set Thursday for former New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin to face expenses that he traded his clout as a state senator for marketing campaign contributions.
The Jan. 23, 2023 date was set by U.S. District Choose J. Paul Oetken in Manhattan throughout an in any other case routine pretrial listening to.
Benjamin’s lawyer, Barry Berke, instructed Oetken he thinks there will likely be no trial as a result of he’ll show prosecutors overreached by charging Benjamin final month.
The arrest spoiled the Democrat’s plans to hitch New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, one other Democrat, in her campaign for governor. Benjamin resigned as lieutenant governor after pleading not responsible on the day of his arrest.
“We believe it’s the most aggressive political corruption case ever pursued in any court,” Berke mentioned.
Berke mentioned the prosecution’s claims have been “not a crime.” The federal government alleges Benjamin obtained marketing campaign contributions from an actual property developer in alternate for Benjamin’s settlement to make use of his affect as a state senator to get a $50,000 grant of state funds for a nonprofit group the developer managed.
The lawyer mentioned earlier courtroom instances have proven that what occurred between Benjamin and the actual property developer was widespread apply and for centuries has not been unlawful.
“We have not found a single case that has ever been brought that is remotely close to this case,” he mentioned.
“It is absolutely not a crime,” Berke added. “The indictment should and will be dismissed.”
Responding to the argument, Assistant U.S. Legal professional David Abramowicz mentioned prosecutors have been nicely conscious of courtroom instances Berke cited as proof that the indictment ought to be dismissed.
“We don’t believe there are any grounds for dismissal of the indictment,” he mentioned.
Benjamin didn’t remark as he left the courthouse.
In September, Hochul selected Benjamin, then a state lawmaker, to function second-in-command when she grew to become governor after Democrat Andrew Cuomo resigned amid allegations he sexually harassed 11 ladies, which he denied.