Bay Ridge

Grimm’s trial postponed until Feb. 2

Judge rules against congressman’s claim he was singled out

October 22, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, pictured at a debate last month in Bay Ridge, will go on trial in federal court on Feb. 2.
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U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm learned on Tuesday that he will not go on trial in federal court in December, as originally scheduled. Judge Pamela K. Chen of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn ordered a postponement of the Republican congress member’s criminal trial until Feb. 2 to give his defense team time to examine evidence gathered by the prosecution, including tape recorded conversations with potential witnesses.

But Judge Chen also dealt Grimm a big blow when she denied his contention that he was unfairly targeted by Democratic-leaning federal prosecutors.

“The defendant has essentially claimed that he was singled out for prosecution because he is a Republican congressman,” the New York Times quoted Judge Chen as saying.

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Grimm’s lawyers brought up the fact that Todd Kaminsky, a former prosecutor on the case, is now running for the State Assembly as a Democrat.

Prosecutors stated that Kaminsky never acted improperly and that he was only one of several prosecutors involved in the case. Prosecutors noted in court that the other elected officials who have been prosecuted over the past four years were all Democrats.

Judge Chen ruled in the prosecution’s favor, saying that Grimm’s contention that the prosecution was politically motivated was “unsupported and random speculation.”

The Staten Island Advance reported that Judge Chen said that in order to prove that prosecutors were singling him out, Grimm’s lawyers would have had to produce evidence to substantiate that they had some kind of a grudge against him.

“The defendant has put forth no evidence to support these claims such that it warrants discovery,” the Advance quoted Judge Chen as saying.

Grimm (R-C-Southwest Brooklyn-Staten Island), who is running for re-election on Nov. 2, was indicted on 20 counts in April. He is charged with paying his workers in cash under the table and underreporting wages to avoid paying taxes during the time he owned a Manhattan health food restaurant called Healthalicious.

He has been charged with tax fraud, mail fraud, employing undocumented immigrants, lying under oath and obstruction of justice, among other charges.

Grimm pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

The race between Grimm and his Democratic opponent, former councilmember Domenic Recchia, is one of the most closely watched contests in the country. A September poll by NY1/CapitalNew York/Siena College has Grimm leading Recchia by just four percentage points.

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