In his first public comments since being indicted for fraud last month, New York congressman and former FBI tough guy Michael Grimm admitted he is guilty. Not of those charges, which he is fighting, but guilty of working too hard and caring too much.
In an interview with Politico, Grimm was asked about the legal case against him. His answers might not instill confidence in some constituents:
Asked if he is innocent of the criminal charges, Grimm paused for four seconds, then chuckled softly.
“You know, uh. It depends on what you’re asking me of,” he said.
“But I’ll tell you this,” he continued. “What I’m guilty of is trying the hardest and giving 100 percent of myself and putting my heart and soul into representing the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn. But I do believe when all is said and done, I will be exonerated and I think the people that supported me will be proud that they did.”
Grimm has been charged with 20 counts of fraud, perjury, and obstruction related to his dealings as a restaurant owner before entering Congress. The FBI's indictment alleges that Grimm "engaged in schemes to fraudulently under-report the wages he paid his workers ... and fraudulently under-report the true amount of money the restaurant earned to both federal and New York State tax and insurance authorities." He has pleaded not guilty in court.
Grimm was sworn in to Congress as a Republican from Staten Island in 2011, and rose to national prominence in January after he threatened a reporter that he would break him in half and throw him off a balcony. Throughout the interview with Politico, Grimm continued to accuse the media of the source of all of his problems. "There’s no question: I’ve been vilified by the press since the day I got here," Grimm said. "From the very beginning they had to figure out how to get rid of this guy."
It's been all bad news for Grimm since the indictment. Grimm has struggled to raise any money, which reportedly caused his only long-time political aide to leave last week. In addition, House Speaker John Boehner decided against backing Grimm in his coming reelection campaign, a move that Grimm dismissed as acting "politically."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.