You remember Rep. Michael Grimm? He’s the Staten Island Republican who made national headlines the night of the State of the Union address, when a TV reporter asked him on camera about an ongoing corruption investigation that was said to include the congressman. Grimm walked away but later, with the cameras still rolling, he came back and threatened to toss the reporter over the balcony, using some choice words in the process.
If reports are correct, it looks like Congressman Grimm is about to be thrown over the balcony himself: an expected indictment by a federal grand jury. The New York Times‘ William Rashbaum writes that the charges are “expected to include mail fraud and wire fraud, and to focus largely on his conduct in connection with a health food restaurant he owned on the Upper East Side of Manhattan after he left the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2006. … He was also expected to be charged with obstruction of justice, for allegedly lying under oath in a federal lawsuit.” The investigation, Rashbaum continues, “began more than two years ago with an examination of Mr. Grimm’s fund-raising for his 2010 race and expanded. Two of his fund-raisers have already been charged. One, Diana Durand of Houston, was charged with illegally funneling more than $10,000 into his campaign. The other, Ofer Biton, pleaded guilty to visa fraud charges.”
Durand has been romantically linked to Grimm, who is divorced.
Grimm’s attorney said that the congressman “asserts his innocence” and that the investigation was a “politically driven vendetta.”
Grimm is the only Republican in New York City’s congressional delegation. He made his first run for political office in 2010 when he defeated freshman Democratic Rep. Mike McMahon by just over three percentage points. Running for re-election in 2012 under an ethics cloud, he defeated Democrat Mark Murphy, son of ex-Rep. John Murphy (1963-80), 48-43%.
He is being challenged this year by former City Councilmember Domenic Recchia (D), who hails from the Brooklyn part of the 13th CD. About three-quarters of the district’s voters hail from Staten Island. Recchia has been successful at raising money; much of Grimm’s finances have gone to legal obligations.
Here’s the famous video of Grimm threatening the NY1 reporter back in January, courtesy of YouTube: