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State Sen. Eric Adams, Retired Cop, Targeted by Federal Investigation

By  Julie  Shapiro Ben Fractenberg and Sonja Sharp | May 8, 2013 4:40pm | Updated on May 8, 2013 5:12pm

 State Sen. Eric Adams at an event to combat child abuse in April 2013.
State Sen. Eric Adams at an event to combat child abuse in April 2013.
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Office of State Senator Eric Adams

NEW YORK — Rising Brooklyn politician Eric Adams, a retired NYPD captain, was among the targets of a federal criminal probe, court records revealed Wednesday.

Adams, 52, a Democratic state senator who is running for Brooklyn borough president this fall, was recorded on a wire worn by disgraced state Sen. Shirley Huntley as part of a federal investigation into political corruption, according to records unsealed Wednesday.

He has not been arrested or accused of any specific wrongdoing.

Staff at Adams' Crown Heights office told a DNAinfo New York reporter that Adams was in Albany Wednesday, but the New York Post reported that the state senator was at his Bed-Stuy apartment and told a reporter, "I have no comment. I have nothing to say."

 New York State Senator and Brooklyn Borough President hopeful Eric Adams at a community rally in Crown Heights in October 2012.
New York State Senator and Brooklyn Borough President hopeful Eric Adams at a community rally in Crown Heights in October 2012.
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DNAinfo/Sonja Sharp

Later, Adams' office released a statement saying, "I have not been contacted about any investigation. I believe deeply in transparency and the pursuit of justice — and that is why I committed 20 years of my life to law enforcement. I am more than willing to help with any investigation."

Neighbors said Adams was friendly and helpful in the community.

"I like the guy," said Lionel Conway, 64, an armed guard who has ived in Bed-Stuy for 20 years. "He's always helpful. He always gives you good advice. He talks to everyone around the place."

Conway said he was "shocked" that Adams could be the target of an investigation but said he planned to vote for Adams regardless.

Adams launched his campaign for Brooklyn borough president in March and netted an endorsement from current Borough President Marty Markowitz. Widely seen as the frontrunner in the race, he reportedly promised to draw more tourists to Brooklyn and implement quality-of-life programs. Adams had more than $370,000 in his campaign account as of January, according to state records.

"It is far too soon to pass judgment," a spokesman for Markowitz said Wednesday. "In America you are innocent until proven guilty."

Political consultant Lupe Todd said it was too soon to say how Adams' connection to a federal investigation could affect his chances of being elected borough president.

"This whole thing is very disappointing and shocking," Todd said. "I don't know what to say in relation to the borough president’s race — everybody has to digest it all first.... To see anybody’s name on a list is disappointing, and no resident wants to see that, no resident wants to hear about possible questionable behavior by their elected officials."

Following a 22-year career in law enforcement, Adams was elected in 2006 to represent the 20th District, which includes Crown Heights, Prospect Heights and Sunset Park, in the state Senate.

He has been a strong advocate for improving relations between police and the community, speaking out against stop-and-frisk and holding free workshops on what to do if you get stopped by police. Adams also co-founded 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, an organization that gives grants to African-American organizations and aims to combat racial profiling.

Last year, Adams was elected co-chairman of New York State's chapter of State Legislators Against Illegal Guns.

Adams was born in Brooklyn and graduated from New York City Technical College and John Jay College. He has a master's in public administration from Marist College.