Lawyer: Rep. Michael Grimm to be indicted
WASHINGTON -- New York federal prosecutors are expected to file criminal charges against Rep. Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island) after more than two years of investigation, Grimm's lawyer said Friday.
Grimm has been under investigation for his 2010 campaign fundraising, but his attorney William McGinley did not specify whether that or other matters would be the focus of the charges he expected to be filed by the U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn.
"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," McGinley said in a statement.
Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said, "I can't confirm, deny or comment."
Grimm's office did not respond to a query.
A New York Times report, citing people with knowledge of the case, said federal charges would focus on Grimm's conduct in connection with a health food restaurant he opened in Manhattan after retiring from the FBI in 2006.
Prosecutors also have been investigating whether illegal foreign and over-limit contributions were among the more than $500,000 directed to Grimm's campaign by a foreign national in return for a green card after the Justice Department asked the House Ethics Committee to defer its own review of those allegations. Israeli immigrant Ofer Biton, a Grimm fundraiser, pleaded guilty to visa fraud last August.
Friday, another fundraiser, Diana Durand, 47, of Houston, was indicted in Brooklyn on charges of election fraud and lying to FBI agents amid accusations she illegally donated more than $10,000 to Grimm. She was first charged in January.
In his statement, McGinley said, "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."
He added, "congressman Grimm asserts his innocence of any wrongdoing."
Since being elected to Congress from Staten Island in 2010, Grimm, a former FBI agent, has stirred controversy.
After the State of the Union address in January, Grimm made national news when he threatened on camera to throw a television reporter from a balcony in the U.S. Capitol for asking about his ethics problems. He faces a re-election challenge in November from Democrat Domenic M. Recchia, a former city councilman.