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U.S. prosecutors will not charge New York City mayor in corruption probe

U.S. prosecutors will not charge New York City mayor in corruption probeU.S. federal and state prosecutors who have been conducting separate investigations into New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign fund-raising practices said they would not be bringing criminal charges against him or his aides, The New York Times said on Thursday.

However, the mayor did not escape unscathed. The state prosecutor, the Manhattan district attorney, criticised De Blasio, saying his effort to help state Democrats appeared to violate the intent and spirit of the law.

But the disclosure that no charges will be brought in either inquiry is nonetheless a notable victory for the mayor, a first-term Democrat who has been dogged by a steady stream of media reports about the investigations, and who is now gearing up to run for re-election in November.

The prosecutors conducted the simultaneous investigations for more than a year, during which time the mayor has repeatedly said that he, his administration and his campaign aides had always acted within the law.

The federal inquiry involved a broad examination of whether de Blasio or his administration or campaign aides exchanged favourable city action for donations to his 2013 campaign or his now-defunct political nonprofit. The state inquiry was more narrowly focused on whether the mayor or his aides violated state election law by directing campaign donations to county committees to evade limits on contributions to individual candidates in the mayor’s unsuccessful 2014 effort to help Democrats retake control of the State Senate.

The decisions by the two offices that handled the inquiries were disclosed separately on Thursday morning, but the timing was coordinated. The office of the United States attorney for the Southern District oversaw the federal investigation and the Manhattan district attorney’s office oversaw the state one.

"After careful deliberation, given the totality of the circumstances here and absent additional evidence, 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," Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim in New York said in a statement.
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