No charges against de Blasio in fundraising probes

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Thursday, March 16, 2017
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Dave Evans reports on the decision in the fundraising probe involving Mayor de Blasio.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York Mayor Bill de Blasio will not face charges after year-long fundraising probes, officials said on Thursday.

Prosecutors said state and federal probes of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's fundraising will not result in criminal charges for the mayor or others acting on his behalf.

Despite the Board of Election's view that the mayor's conduct "may have violated the Election Law, this office has determined that the parties involved cannot be appropriately prosecuted," said the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.

D.A. Cyrus Vance said the facts were insufficient to successfully argue a provable violation of state election laws, in part because the parties relied on the advice of attorneys. But he said the actions appear to be "contrary to the intent and spirit of the law."

He called for the board of elections and the state to consider prohibiting the kind of transactions that were at stake in the probe.

At a City Hall news conference, the mayor reacted to the decision.

"It simply confirms what I've said all along. My staff, my colleagues and I have acted in a manner that was legal and appropriate and ethical throughout," de Blasio said.

Investigators have been poring through finance records from the mayor's 2013 campaign, amid questions about how campaign officials solicited donations from the city's real estate and business sectors.

The U.S. attorney and his staff also were looking into whether individuals may have benefited from those donations.

The mayor had insisted donors are not entitled to favoritism. "If someone makes a donation, that's their choice, they should expect nothing in return," de Blasio said during the investigation.

On Thursday, Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim confirmed that the federal office also would not bring charges against the mayor.

"We do not intend to bring federal criminal charges against the Mayor or those acting on his behalf relating to the fundraising efforts in question. Although it is rare that we issue a public statement about the status of an investigation, we believe it appropriate in this case at this time, in order not to unduly influence the upcoming campaign and Mayoral election," said a statement issued by the office."

The mayor said that he and his staff had done "everything within the law, everything within a clear ethical standard," and had cooperated with investigators.

"I've said consistently we acted appropriately, we acted ethically, we acted lawfully," said de Blasio on WNYC-AM Thursday. "I think this confirms what I've been saying and all my colleagues have been saying. We held ourselves to a very high standard and we will continue to. I appreciate that both the U.S. Attorney's Office and District Attorney's Office did a thorough effort."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.