Rana Abbasova, a key aide to New York City Mayor Eric Adams, has been suspended following allegations that she instructed City Hall staffers to delete specific text messages from their personal devices.
This order came in the aftermath of an FBI raid on her home, as well as the homes of other individuals connected to the mayor, on November 2. The raid is part of a broader federal investigation focusing on Adams' 2021 campaign fundraising and its alleged links to the Turkish government.
Abbasova, who worked as the director of protocol in the Office for International Affairs, reportedly made this request for deletion after federal agents targeted her residence. This development emerged amidst ongoing scrutiny of Adams' campaign activities, particularly in relation to possible illegal foreign financial contributions and the involvement of "straw donors." These donors are suspected of being intermediaries for funneling foreign cash into Adams' campaign coffers, potentially in exchange for political favors.
The implications of the FBI raid and subsequent actions extend to Mayor Adams himself. Investigators, upon learning of Abbasova's directive to erase messages, obtained a warrant to examine Adams' mobile devices to determine if he had received any communications from Abbasova that could be pertinent to the investigation. However, sources familiar with the probe have clarified that the communications between Adams and Abbasova were considered "benign" and not central to the investigation. The mayor's legal team reportedly informed investigators of these developments immediately.
Adams, for his part, has not been formally accused of any wrongdoing in this probe. In a statement following the raids, he expressed outrage and indignation at the suggestion that his campaign might have been involved in manipulating the democratic process or engaging in improper fundraising activities.
The FBI's raids also included the homes of Cenk Ocal, a former Turkish Airlines executive who worked on Adams' transition team, and Brianna Suggs, a campaign consultant and lobbyist for the mayor. These searches prompted Mayor Adams to cut short his participation in White House immigration meetings to address the unfolding situation back in New York City.
The nature of Abbasova's suspension and the reasons behind it have not been fully disclosed. However, the incident raises serious questions about the integrity of the election process and the use of foreign influence in local politics. As the investigation continues, further details are expected to emerge, shedding light on the extent and implications of these alleged activities.