U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-New York) was charged Monday in a 20-count indictment with tax evasion, allegedly concealing more than $1 million in receipts from his New York Restaurant.
Grimm, 44, represents the borough of Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn.
He made headlines in January after President Obama’s State of the Union address after reporter Michael Scotto questioned him about an FBI investigation into his campaign financing while they were on the balcony in the Capitol.
“Let me be clear to you. If you ever do that to me again, I’ll throw you off this (expletive) balcony. I will break you in half, like a boy,” Grimm is caught saying on tape.
In addition to tax Fraud, Grimm is charged with conspiracy, mail fraud, obstruction, and perjury related to his restaurant Healthalicious. He also is accused of knowingly employing a number of undocumented immigrants.
He said he is the victim of “a political witch hunt” and added “I’m going to fight this tooth and nail until I am exonerated.”
“From the beginning the government has pursued a politically driven vendetta against Congressman Grimm and not an independent search for the truth. Congressman Grimm asserts his innocence of any wrongdoing,” attorney William McGinley said in a statement.
The FBI alleges the fraud occurred between 2007 and 2010. Grimm is a former FBI agent. He was elected to congress in 2010.
“Rep. Grimm billed himself as a patriot and American hero,” said George Venizelos, head of the FBI’s office. “…But Rep. Grimm was anything but an upstanding citizen. He cheated, evaded and then lied,” The Huffington Post reported.
“As a former FBI agent, Representative Grimm should understand the motto: fidelity, bravery, and integrity. Yet he broke our credo at nearly every turn. In this twenty-count indictment, Representative Grimm lived by a new motto: fraud, perjury, and obstruction” Venizelos said.
A spokesman for the congressman said in part “When the dust settles, he will be vindicated. Until then, he will continue to serve his constituents with the same dedication and tenacity that has characterized his lifetime of public service as Member of Congress, Marine Corps combat veteran, and decorated FBI Special Agent,” the statement said.
USA Today reported Grimm was elected as a Tea Party candidate in 2010 and is on the ballot in a bid for reelection later this year. For the past two years, federal prosecutors have been examining Grimm’s fund-raising for this 2010 race. Two of his fund raisers have already been charged.
[Image via New York Daily News]