NEW YORK (PIX11) — For the first time since the FBI raided the home of his biggest fundraiser, Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday held a question and answer session with local media. He made it clear, though, that certain questions regarding the raid and investigation were not going to be answered.
Still, the news conference, which was the most recent installment of a relatively new City Hall initiative to have a media availability one time per week, ended up mostly having questions about the investigation into aspects of the mayor’s re-election campaign.
“I sleep well at night. We follow the rules,” the mayor said in his opening comments at the late morning news conference.
Adams was referring to his feelings and conduct in the wake of the FBI raid at the home of Brianna Suggs, 25, his top campaign fundraiser.
The mayor had been on his way to the White House for a migrant crisis meeting last Thursday when he got news of the raid, and abruptly came back to New York, without attending the meeting in Washington.
Details of what he did when he returned were clearly off the table, Adams said.
“I’m not going to go into the exact particulars of what actions I did,” he said in response to a question from PIX11 News.
“Your presence is everything,” the mayor went on to explain, about why he felt a need to return in person. “I wanted to be here not only with my campaign team but with my City Hall team,” he said.
However, when asked if his not being present for the White House migrant crisis meeting ended up putting his campaign above city matters, his response was no-nonsense and terse.
“Uh, no,” he said. “Next question.”
At the news conference, seated next to Adams at the front table in City Hall’s Blue Room, was Ingrid Lewis-Martin, the chief advisor to the mayor, who also happens to be the godmother of Suggs. Lewis-Martin brought Suggs into politics at the age of 17, as the mayor referenced during the media availability.
“I saw [her] grow up as an intern,” he said, and then described the FBI raid at her home. “[She] had a traumatizing experience in her life.”
“As a human being,” Adams continued, “I was concerned.”
However, after he’d rushed back to New York, he recounted, “I didn’t speak with Brianna the day of the incident because I didn’t want to give any appearance of interference.”
The mayor said that he’d wanted to focus on the raid and investigation in New York instead of attending the White House migrant crisis meeting. He made clear that he’d chosen one over the other.
At the same time, though, he said, “I think the last question folks would be asking would be, ‘Can you multi-task?'”
Adams also said that he’d hired the prestigious law firm WilmerHale to represent him, as investigators continue to probe whether his campaign illegally took donations from Turkey. It’s a country that the mayor openly admits to traveling many times and having personal ties.
However, Adams added, “It would really shock me if someone that was hired by my campaign did something that was inappropriate.”
“Not only would it shock me,” Adams continued, “It would hurt me.”