Former fundraiser for GOP congressman pleads guilty to campaign violations
By Bernard Vaughan
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A former fundraiser for embattled U.S. Representative Michael Grimm of New York pleaded guilty on Wednesday to funneling illegal contributions to the Republican’s 2010 campaign.
Diana Durand, 48, admitted that she violated the Federal Election Campaign Act by directing campaign contributions to two candidates for the House of Representatives in 2010 with the help of straw donors. Her lawyer, Stuart Kaplan, has confirmed that Grimm was one of the candidates.
Durand appeared on Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Sterling Johnson.
“I knowingly and willingly advanced payments to the straw donors,” Durand said during a hearing.
Her plea comes a day after a judge in the same court set Dec. 1 as the start of Grimm’s trial for tax evasion.
Grimm, a former U.S. Marine and FBI agent who represents parts of New York City’s boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island, was elected in 2010.
In April, Grimm was indicted on charges of fraud, perjury and conspiracy tied to a Manhattan health food restaurant he partly owned, Healthalicious. The charges followed a federal probe of Grimm’s fundraising.
(Reporting by Bernard Vaughan, editing by G Crosse)