Rep. Michael Grimm's tax fraud trial date set for Dec. 1

Rep. Michael Grimm, center, leaves federal court in Rep. Michael Grimm, center, leaves federal court in Brooklyn on Monday, April 29, 2014, after being indicted on a charge of mail, wire and health care fraud, filling false tax returns, perjury, obstruction of an official proceeding, hiring and employing unauthorized aliens and related charges, in connection with a Manhattan restaurant he owned and operated. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

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A Brooklyn federal judge on Monday set a Dec. 1 trial date for Rep. Michael Grimm on charges of tax evasion and hiring undocumented workers, rejecting arguments from the Staten Island Republican that jurors might be prejudiced by negative election ads.

Grimm's lawyers said Democrats are running commercials featuring U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch's April news conference when she announced charges against Grimm, and they said a January trial date would allow a "cooling off period" for potential jurors.

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But U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen said a one-month break between the November election and a December trial would be plenty of time, and that jury selection could be used to screen out any potential jurors influenced by electioneering.

"I don't think there's any way we'll get a jury that hasn't heard anything about this case, whether it's Dec. 1 or Jan. 1," she said.

Grimm, 44, a former Marine and FBI agent, was charged with hiring immigrants living here illegally to work at a health food restaurant he owned in Manhattan, evading taxes on $1 million in receipts and lying in a civil suit.

Democrat Domenic Recchia is challenging Grimm's bid for a third term.

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