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Mayor Adams’ ‘Bling Bishop’ pal Lamor Whitehead refusing to let feds access 13 devices seized from him

New York Daily News 2/3/2023 Chris Sommerfeldt, New York Daily News

The “Bling Bishop” isn’t playing ball with the feds.

Lamor Whitehead, a criminally charged Brooklyn pastor who’s friends with Mayor Adams, is refusing to furnish federal prosecutors with passwords to 13 electronic devices they’ve seized from him, delaying the discovery process in his case, according to court records.

Whitehead was arrested in December and indicted on a laundry list of charges for allegedly swindling a retired parishioner out of tens of thousands of dollars, extorting a businessman and lying to investigators.

In a previously unknown wrinkle, the feds seized 15 electronic devices from Whitehead around the time of his arrest as part of a search warrant execution, prosecutors wrote in a letter filed in Manhattan Federal Court this week.

Prosecutors said they’ve been able to “extract” the data they need from two of Whitehead’s devices. They have not been able to access the remaining 13, however, because they’re locked with passwords, according to the filing dated Jan. 30.

The feds have asked Whitehead’s legal team to fork over the passwords to the 13 devices as that “would allow for their immediate extraction,” they wrote.

But Whitehead “does not intend to provide these passwords,” the feds wrote, adding that they thereby have to wait for software necessary to tap into the devices. They said they expect to get that software later “this quarter.”

Whitehead’s lawyer did not return a request for comment Friday on why his client is withholding the passwords.

Whitehead, who’s gained the “Bling Bishop” moniker because of his penchant for driving luxury cars and wearing flashy clothes and jewelry, has pleaded not guilty and is out on a $500,000 bond. The pastor, who leads the International Ministries of Tomorrow in Canarsie, served five years in prison a decade ago after orchestrating a fraud scheme on Long Island in which prosecutors say he used other people’s identities to buy high-end cars for himself.

After his release from prison, Whitehead befriended Adams and the two became close. Adams held several public events with Whitehead while serving as Brooklyn borough president.

The mayor has not distanced himself completely from Whitehead since he was indicted on Dec. 19, though he called the charges against him “troubling” in the wake of his arrest.

One of the most explosive allegations in Whitehead’s indictment is that he pressured a Bronx businessman for an investment in a real estate venture while promising him that he’d get “favorable actions” from Adams’ administration in return.

The feds stressed in the indictment that Whitehead knew he could not deliver on that promise, though. The feds did not explain in the indictment how they’d been able to arrive at that conclusion.

In a motion also filed this week, Whitehead’s lawyer asked a judge to order that the feds elaborate on the alleged quid pro quo offer.

“Identify and describe the specific ‘favorable actions by the New York City government’ [Whitehead allegedly offered],” the attorney, Brian Ponder, wrote.

It’s unclear if the feds probing Whitehead have spoken with Adams or anyone in his administration.

Adams and his spokesmen would not say last month if they’ve been contacted. Adams did say no one in his administration has received subpoenas.

©2023 New York Daily News. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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