Rep. Michael Grimm charged in 20-count federal indictment

Rep. Michael Grimm charged in 20-count federal indictment

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) - Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., pleaded not guilty on Monday to a 20-count federal indictment that includes charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and tax fraud. The Staten Island Republican was released on $400,000 bail, which he secured with his home.

Grimm was arrested just before 7 a.m. and taken to FBI headquarters in Manhattan following a two-year investigation of his campaign financing, prosecutors said.

Outside court, Grimm told reporters that the probe was a "witch hunt" designed to "assassinate his character." "I know I'm a moral man, a man of integrity," he said. "And I also know I have a lot more service and leadership to provide this country, and that's exactly what I intend to do."

He is charged with engaging in schemes to under report wages for restaurant workers, including some who were in the country illegally. He's accused of concealing more than $1 million in sales and wages.

Authorities allege the fraud occurred from 2007 to 2010. Grimm, who is also a former FBI agent, was elected in 2010 and took office in 2011.

"Grimm made the choice to go from upholding the law to breaking it. In so doing, he turned his back on every oath he had ever taken. Even after his return to public service, when called to account for his actions and questioned under oath Grimm went for the cover up and lied about his role in his own business," U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement. "The obligation to deal honestly and testify truthfully is shared by everyone in our society."

"We are disappointed by the government's decision, but hardly surprised. From the beginning, the government has pursued a politically driven vendetta against Congressman Grimm and not an independent search for the truth," said William McGinley, Grimm's lawyer on Friday. "Congressman Grimm asserts his innocence of any wrongdoing. When the dust settles, he will be vindicated."

The U.S. attorney in Brooklyn on Friday unsealed an indictment against a woman he has been romantically linked to, the AP reported. The indictment accuses Diana Durand of using straw donors to contribute $10,000 to Grimm's campaign and then lied to the FBI when she said she did not reimburse them.

Grimm, a former Marine who served in Desert Storm, represents all of Staten Island and part of Brooklyn. He was first elected in 2010.

In January, he threatened to throw a TV reporter off a balcony at the U.S. Capitol. The reporter, Michael Scotto of NY1, tried to ask Grimm a question about the ongoing campaign finance probe. Grimm initially defended his blow-up, but later apologized, saying his emotions got the better of him.

With the Associated Press
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