In his weekly in-person media availability on Tuesday, Mayor Eric Adams defended the creation of a legal defense fund amid the ongoing FBI probe into his campaign fundraising, saying that "New Yorkers reached out" to him asking to help.

“Our compliance attorney, based on a law that was passed by the City Council, looked into the records, spoke to COIB. They told them the methodology that they could use to open up a legal trust to pick up the cost of legal expenses,” he said Tuesday. 

It is unclear how much Adams has raised so far for his legal defense fund. No one is currently heading up the fundraising effort.

Aside from the FBI probe investigation, Adams and Jacques Jiha, the city’s budget director, were questioned about the city’s recent budget cuts

The two said the growing costs for migrants are creating the need for budget cuts. 

According to officials, there are over 66,000 asylum seekers in the city’s care.

Over 145,500 asylum seekers have come through the city’s intake system since last spring, officials said. Last week, more than 2,700 new asylum seekers entered the city’s care.

Adams and Jiha said the city is looking to cut costs for migrants by 20% going into the next year. They said they are looking to lower the cost of shelter stays, which have topped out at more than $400 a night, and invest more in legal services to help get migrants working and not have them be reliant on city services. 

Adams again placed blame on a lack of federal aid. 

“New York City tax dollars should not be going to paying for a national problem. Every conversation should start with that from my elected officials,” Adams said. “We’re not trying to use this as leverage. This is costly for the city of New York, and it could be a long-term impact.”

The city is trying to close a budget gap of $7 billion going into next year, which is an increase from a previous projection of $5 billion.