The feds have been after Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) for a long time. Now they’re ready to pounce.
Grimm’s attorney confirmed to TPM on Friday that federal prosecutors are preparing to bring criminal charges against the Staten Island Congressman. According to CNN, the charges could come as soon as next week.
Grimm, a former FBI agent, has been under federal investigation for more than two years, during which time several of his associates have been snared by prosecutors. In the summer of 2012, an Israeli citizen who helped Grimm raise money for his 2010 congressional campaign was arrested by the FBI for lying on immigration documents. In January, a Texas woman accused of using straw donors to illegally funnel $10,000 to Grimm’s campaign was reportedly in plea deal negotiations with federal prosecutors.
Grimm, who has a reputation for hot-headed outbursts, asserted “his innocence of any wrongdoing” in a statement issued by his lawyer.
“After more than two years of investigation plagued by malicious leaks, violations of grand jury secrecy, and strong-arm tactics, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has disclosed its intent to file criminal charges against Congressman Grimm,” attorney William McGinley said in a statement obtained by TPM. “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. Congressman Grimm asserts his innocence of any wrongdoing. When the dust settles, he will be vindicated.”
McGinley said Grimm will continue to serve in Congress “with the same dedication and tenacity that has characterized his lifetime of public service as a Member of Congress, Marine Corps combat veteran, and decorated FBI Special Agent.”
Anonymous “officials” told CNN that prosecutors in Brooklyn, N.Y. and the Justice Department’s public integrity section in Washington, D.C. had reviewed details of the case against Grimm in recent weeks, and decided to go ahead with the charges. But exact details about the nature of the charges remain unknown.
A lawyer representing Donna Durand, Grimm’s friend and donor in Texas, told CNN that despite talks, his client had not reached any deal with prosecutors.
“The government made clear the door is open,” attorney Stuart Kaplan said. “They would like her to in and talk about Michael Grimm…. She just doesn’t have anything, she can’t make it up.”
Ofer Biton, the fundraiser arrested on immigration issues, has pleaded guilty to filing false documents in an investor visa application, according to CNN.
Grimm got a round of media attention in January, when he threatened a journalist who asked him about the state of the federal investigation.
“Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this fucking balcony,” Grimm told NY1 reporter Michael Scotto following an on-air interview after the State of the Union address.
This post has been updated.