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Eric Adams

Eric Adams Neglected to Mention That the FBI Seized His Phones

Investigators reportedly took the Mayor's devices Monday night, a fact he did not disclose at a Wednesday press conference.

5:04 PM EST on November 10, 2023

(Photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

On Wednesday morning, as reporters peppered him with questions about a federal raid of his campaign worker's home last week, Mayor Eric Adams said that he would be "shocked" if someone on his campaign had done something wrong. "Not only would it shock me, it would hurt me," the mayor told the press.

But what Adams did not tell reporters at this press conference is that the FBI had seized his electronic devices two days earlier. Asked at that press conference if the mayor was in touch with investigators, his lawyer answered for him, in general terms. "The answer is yes, of course we are," the lawyer, Lisa Zornberg, told reporters. "The mayor has pledged his cooperation, and we've been in touch."

The New York Times reported late Friday afternoon that earlier this week, FBI agents "approached the mayor on the street," brandished a warrant, climbed into the mayor's SUV, and seized two cell phones and an iPad. After copying the devices, the law enforcement sources told the Times, they returned them to the mayor.

The Times story was a bombshell, but the statement from Adams and his attorney in response raises even more questions.

"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 reported to investigators," the lawyer, Boyd Johnson, said in the statement. "On Monday night, the FBI approached the mayor after an event. The mayor immediately complied with the FBI's request and provided them with electronic devices. The mayor has not been accused of any wrongdoing and continues to cooperate with the investigation."

"I have nothing to hide," Adams said in his own response to the Times story.

What does "acted improperly" in this context mean? And who is the "individual" being referenced? Is it someone with his campaign or in City government? Why did Adams tell reporters on Wednesday that he would be "shocked" if someone did something wrong, when, according to his version of events, he knew at that exact moment that the FBI had searched his phones because he tipped them off to wrongdoing? Why didn't the mayor tell the public the FBI had taken his stuff? Was the mayor able to get any work done without his two phones and iPad? 

We asked the Mayor's Office these questions, and they did not immediately respond. We also asked the mayor's campaign spokesperson, Evan Thies, to comment, but he simply replied with the same statement.

A rep for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, which is conducting the investigation into the mayor's campaign, did not immediately respond to our request for comment. The federal investigation, which the raid of the Brooklyn home of the mayor's top fundraiser, Brianna Suggs, is a part of, is reportedly focusing on whether the government of Turkey funneled tens of thousands of dollars in illegal donations to Adams through a Brooklyn construction company

A few hours before the Times story broke on Friday, Adams was approached outside of City Hall and asked if he was "afraid" of people challenging him in the 2025 election. 

"Wait before you hate," Adams replied.

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