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Rep. Michael Grimm arrested in New York

The New York Republican is expected to face charges related to the connection between his chain of health-food restaurants and several prominent supporters.
By Gabrielle Levy   |   April 28, 2014 at 10:15 AM

WASHINGTON, April 28 (UPI) -- New York Rep. Michael Grimm was arrested by the FBI Monday morning, hours before federal prosecutors were set to unseal an indictment against him.

The freshman Republican, 44, learned last week the U.S. Attorney's Office planned to file charges related to a Manhattan chain of health-food restaurants, although the exact nature of the charges won't be revealed until an 11 a.m. press conference.

Federal investigators have focused on the connection between Grimm's Healthalicious and a company affiliated with Israeli Ofer Biton, who pleaded guilty to making false statements about his involvement with a city visa program. Biton served as a liaison between Grimm and the followers of mystic Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, who is himself facing bribery charges in Israel.

Pinto's followers donated more than $500,000 to Grimm in his hard-fought 2010 victory, although it is unclear if the charges will include campaign fundraising violations.

Grimm, through his lawyer, has denied all wrongdoing.

“We are disappointed by the government’s decision, but hardly surprised," his attorney, William McGinley, said Friday. "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," McGinley continued. "When the dust settles, he will be vindicated. Until then, he will continue to serve his constituents with the same dedication and tenacity that has characterized his lifetime of public service as a Member of Congress, Marine Corps combat veteran, and decorated FBI Special Agent.”

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