Rep. Michael Grimm was hit with a 20-count federal indictment on Monday, including allegations that he skimmed more than $1 million from a restaurant he owned before he came to Congress, reported POLITICO.
In a televised, nine-minute press conference, a defiant Rep. Grimm vowed to prove his innocence in court. "I know who I am, and I know what I’ve done for this country… I know I’m a moral man, a man of integrity," Grimm declared. "We’re going to fight tooth and nail until I am fully exonerated."
He portrayed himself as the victim of a "vendetta" and "political witch hunt" by his opponents.
"Time and time again I have shown I don’t abandon my post," Grimm added. "I didn’t abandon my post when I was being fired upon in combat," or when he was an FBI agent.
"I’m not abandoning my post now," said Grimm.
Grimm had threatened to throw a television reporter off the Capitol balcony earlier this year. NY1 reporter Michael Scotto. Grimm quickly cut Scotto off, saying he would not speak "off-topic" and walking off camera. When Scotto noted to the television audience that Grimm "does not want to talk about some of the allegations concerning his campaign finances," Grimm confronted the reporter with the cameras still rolling:
GRIMM: “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this fuc---g balcony.”
SCOTTO: Why? I just wanted to ask you…
GRIMM: If you ever do that to me again…
SCOTTO: Why? Why? It’s a valid question.
GRIMM: No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.
However, the indictment could cost the Republican Party his seat in a swing district, said an earlier report. With only 17 seats separating Democrats and Republicans in the House, every seat becomes valuable. Republicans are assuming they will retain control but these types of mistakes makes it less of a sure thing.
But this seat may just go over the balcony for the Republicans.
The allegations against Grimm, 44, are related to his ownership of a health food restaurant in Manhattan called Healthalicious.
Grimm was released on a $400,000 bond, using his home as collateral. Grimm will be represented in the case by John and Elizabeth Kase, two New York City defense attorneys.
POLITICO - Michael Grimm: 'I'm a moral man'
Allvoices.com - House GOP could lose swing seat if NY member is indicted on federal charges