Aide Flips on NYC Mayor, Cooperates in FBI Investigation

May 21, 2024

A suspended aide to New York City mayor Eric Adams (D.) is cooperating with the FBI’s investigation into whether the mayor’s 2021 campaign conspired with the Turkish government to receive illegal foreign contributions, the New York Times reported on Monday.

Three sources told the Times that Rana Abbasova, Adams’s director of protocol for international affairs and longtime liaison to the Turkish community, has started to cooperate with federal authorities in their investigation of the mayor’s alleged ties to Turkish officials. 

Adams has been suspected of conspiring with the Turkish government to funnel foreign money into his mayoral campaign in 2021 and pressuring Fire Department officials to allow the Turkish consulate to use a new Manhattan building that had not passed safety inspection, according to the Times

Abbasova first began talking with federal investigators weeks after the FBI raided her New Jersey home on Nov. 2. The mayor’s office had suspended Abbasova just days after the raid for allegedly urging fellow City Hall staffers to delete text messages related to foreign donations to Adams in 2021.

It remains unclear what new information Abbasova has given to federal investigators regarding Adams’s alleged ties to Turkey, but the suspended aide was reportedly involved in some of Adams’s dealings with Turkish officials and businessmen and even accompanied the mayor on two official trips to Turkey.

Adams lawyer Brendan R. McGuire in a statement described Abbasova’s cooperation with FBI officials as "not a new or meaningful development," adding that "it is our understanding that Ms. Abbasova has been talking to investigators since her improper conduct was reported by the administration in November."

While neither Adams nor any of his aides has been formally accused of criminal wrongdoing, authorities seized the mayor’s phones and iPad in November and raided the homes of his aides, including Abbasova; Brianna Suggs, a top fundraiser for Adams; and Winnie Greco, the mayor’s senior adviser and director of Asian affairs.