FBI agents on Wednesday executed search warrants at the homes of two Detroit City Council members, at City Hall, and several other places in southeastern Michigan in connection with an ongoing investigation into corruption in the city's government.
Search warrants were executed at the homes of council members Janee Ayers and Scott Benson, as well as at the home of Benson's chief of staff, Carol Banks, the Detroit Free Press reports.
"Why are we doing this? Why are we doing these search warrants? The citizens of Detroit have a right to a city government that is free of corruption," Tim Waters, the FBI special agent in charge in Michigan, told reporters while confirming the raids.
Waters said there were no arrests involved in the searches, which come about a month after federal prosecutors charged Councilman Andre Spivey with conspiracy to commit bribery.
According to court documents in the case, Spivey and an unnamed staff worker accepted more than $35,000 in bribes as part of a conspiracy from 2016 to 2020 to influence city business, the Free Press reported.
Waters said the agents were collecting evidence to give to the U.S. Attorney's Office, which will then determine if charges will be filed.
Agents were seen carrying boxes out of City Hall shortly after Waters spoke.
Ayers has served on council since 2015 after former Councilwoman Saunteel Jenkins resigned and won a special election in 2016. Voters then elected her to a full term in 2017.
After winning a primary election earlier this month and garnering the most votes for the at-large seat, Ayers is running against Coleman Young II this fall in the general election.
Meanwhile, Benson, representing District 3, did not have a primary challenger and is seeking reelection in November as well.
Messages left at the council members' offices were not immediately returned.
Detroit's City Council has been plagued by scandal and federal investigations several times in the past, including in 2013, when ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison on public corruption crimes, including racketeering, bribery, fraud and extortion.
Former President Donald Trump, however, commuted Kilpatrick's sentence, allowing his release 20 years early.
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