Report: Grimm to plead guilty to tax evasion
U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, who was hit with a 20-count indictment on charges of fraud and income tax evasion in April, plans to plead guilty to one of the counts, the New York Daily News reported.
Grimm (R-C-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Staten Island) was set to enter a guilty plea on a charge of income tax evasion in Brooklyn Federal Court on Dec. 23, according to the Daily News, which reported the story on its website at on Monday afternoon.
It’s not clear, however, if the guilty plea will mean that Grimm will be forced to resign from Congress.
“It depends on whether he is pleading to a felony or not,” a politically connected Bay Ridge lawyer told the Brooklyn Eagle on Monday.
The Daily News reported that Grimm will try to hang on to his congressional seat, using the argument that he will still be able to serve despite the guilty plea.
If Grimm does have to step down from office, a special election will be held to fill his congressional seat.
Grimm’s criminal trial had been scheduled to begin in February. It’s not clear if the guilty plea will change that timetable.
Grimm could not be reached for comment.
Grimm, a marine and former FBI agent, won re-election to his seat in the 11th Congressional District against Democrat Domenic Recchia in November despite the legal cloud hanging over him. During the campaign, Grimm, who was seeking a third term in office, repeatedly stated that he would have his day in court to answer the charges. He defeated Recchia, a former Brooklyn councilman, 55-45 percent.
Kevin Peter Carroll, Democratic district leader of the 64th Assembly District, which includes parts of Bay Ridge and Staten Island, blasted Grimm after the Daily News report came out. On his Facebook page, Carroll wrote that if Grimm “knew he was guilty” he should have “told the voters so during the election.”
The federal indictment announced by U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch in April charged Grimm with 20 counts, including filing false tax returns, mail fraud, wire fraud and perjury. The charges stemmed from Grimm’s ownership of a Manhattan health food restaurant prior to his election to congress in 2010. He allegedly failed to report an estimated $1 million in restaurant profits to the government.
Grimm is also accused of hiring undocumented immigrants and paying them off the books.
“In 2007, Michael Grimm, former Marine, former FBI agent, accountant and attorney, was poised for success as a small business owner. Instead, as alleged, Grimm made the choice to go from upholding the law to breaking it. In so doing, he turned his back on every oath he had ever taken. Even after his return to public service, when called to account for his actions and questioned under oath Grimm went for the cover up and lied about his role in his own business,” Lynch stated at the time of Grimm’s indictment.
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