WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal prosecutors intend to bring criminal charges against Michael Grimm, a Republican U.S. congressman from New York who has been under investigation for campaign finance violations, his lawyer said on Friday.
Attorney William McGinley condemned the expected charges as a “politically driven vendetta” against the congressman, who he said was innocent. Another source familiar with the case, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that charges against Grimm were likely.
Grimm, a former Marine, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 as one of a wave of conservatives backed by the Tea Party movement, which advocates small government and minimal taxes. Federal investigators have been looking into his political fundraising for at least two years.
Grimm generated headlines in January when he threatened to throw a television reporter over a balcony after an interview in the U.S. Capitol building on the evening of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address to Congress.
“I will break you in half,” Grimm told a reporter with cable channel NY1 News in the confrontation. The reporter had asked the Republican about a federal investigation into possible finance violations by his campaign.
McGinley, his lawyer, said the congressman ultimately will be vindicated of the charges.
“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.
“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,” the lawyer added.
(Reporting by Julia Edwards in Washington and Emily Flitter in New York; Editing by David Storey)
[Image via Rep. Michael Grimm official Facebook page]