News / USA

US Congressman Faces 20-Count Criminal Charge

U.S. Representative Michael Grimm talks to reporters outside his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 29, 2014.
U.S. Representative Michael Grimm talks to reporters outside his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 29, 2014.
U.S. Congressman Michael Grimm, a former FBI agent who once investigated corruption cases, now faces a number of federal criminal charges.
 
A 20-count indictment says Grimm hid more than $1 million in receipts from his Manhattan restaurant, called “Healthalicious,” from 2007 to 2010. He left the business upon election to Congress.
 
The government’s case against Grimm, now in his second congressional term, charges him with “obstructing and impeding IRS (Internal Revenue Service) functions, conspiracy to defraud the United States.”
 
The charges include “false tax returns to be filed, mail fraud, wire fraud, health care fraud, perjury, obstruction of an official proceeding, and the hiring of undocumented workers,” according to U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch.
 
Unlike many countries, where government officials and lawmakers have immunity from prosecution while in office, no such protection exists in the United States. Over the years, Congressmen, state governors, and others have faced trial and even prison.
 
Grimm, a Republican who represents part of New York City in the House of Representatives, sounded a defiant tone after his April 28 arraignment in Brooklyn Federal District Court.
 
“Since day one, the press has been fed all kinds of innuendos and accusations to support – and let me be very clear – a political witch hunt,” Grimm told reporters. “And this political witch hunt was designed to do a couple of things, but first and foremost, [to] assassinate my character, and remove me from office.”
 
Grimm and his supporters claim what also proves that this case is politically motivated was its being officially filed weeks after the deadline passed for adding or removing candidates from the November 2014 election ballot. This, they say, was meant to prevent his party from putting someone else up for Congress, weakening Republican chances to retain his seat.
 
The restaurant related charges against Grimm may not be the only ones he will face.
 
Second investigation

There are numerous reports that there is a second investigation underway connected to his congressional campaign fundraising activities.
 
One allegation involves the possibility that a Rabbi raised a half-million dollars by collecting from foreign nationals, which is prohibited under U.S. law.
 
Grimm’s former girlfriend, Diana Durand, has entered a “not guilty” plea to a three count federal indictment charging that she illegally reimbursed some people who contributed to Grimm’s 2010 race.
 
Meanwhile, the Republican Party has effectively gone from strongly backing his 2014 re-election bid to washing its hands of him.
 
“They’ve withdrawn their support,” said reporter Alexandra Jaffee at the politics-focused Washington newspaper The Hill. “We’ve been told by sources “that they won’t be fundraising for him. They won’t be spending on his race anymore. And that’s good for them [the Republican Party].”
 
The Republican National Congressional Committee, which initially included Grimm in a 10-candidate fundraising drive slated for later this month, has dropped him from that list.
 
Still, political analysts say there may be legal maneuvering by his defense attorneys to try to give him the best possible chance to save his seat in Congress.
 
“You want the court hearing after the election, so the people of Staten Island [the district which Grimm represents] can choose whether to vote for Representative Grimm or not,” said Mark Rom, a political science professor at Georgetown University. “So that may give him a little breathing room.
 
“On the other hand, it’s really hard to run for Congress when you have the feds looking over your shoulder, and you know you will be brought to a courtroom after the election,” Rom said.
 
No trial date has been set.
 
Looking forward

Grimm defiantly presses forward with his election bid.
 
“I know who I am, and I know what I’ve done for this country for almost 20 years now,” he said. “I know I am a moral man, a man of integrity,” he says. “And I know I have a lot more service and leadership to provide [to] this country.”
 
Assistant FBI Director George Venizelos sees Grimm quite differently.
 
“As a former FBI agent, Representative Grimm should understand the [FBI] motto - ‘Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity,’” he said in a statement. “Yet he broke our credo at nearly every turn. In this 20-count indictment, Representative Grimm honored a new motto: fraud, perjury, and obstruction.

Jeffrey Young

Jeffrey Young came to the “Corruption” beat after years of doing news analysis, primarily on global strategic issues such as nuclear proliferation.  During most of 2013, he was on special assignment in Baghdad and elsewhere with the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).  Previous VOA activities include VOA-TV, where he created the “How America Works” and “How America Elects” series, and the “Focus” news analysis unit.

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid