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Rep. Michael Grimm: I've been 'vilified' by the press from the start

Facing a 20-count indictment and a precarious re-election, Rep. Michael Grimm is defiant.
By Gabrielle Levy   |   May 28, 2014 at 11:26 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, May 28 (UPI) -- Embattled New York Rep. Michael Grimm, is in his own words, a hardworking, egg-breaking, stepping-on-toes kind of congressman, and if he's facing political death, he knows exactly who's to blame.

"There's no question: I've been vilified by the press since the day I got here," Grimm told Politico in an interview published Wednesday. From the very beginning they had to figure out how to get rid of this guy."

The two-term New York Republican, who was indicted in April on 20 criminal charges, has insisted he can -- and will -- win his bid for re-election.

But it will be an uphill battle: With the departure of aide Bill Cortese last week, Grimm is essentially running his own re-election campaign, for which he can't even raise money. The congressman said he has stopped fundraising at least until June, thanks to the indictment, and recently was booted from a National Republican Congressional Committee fundraiser.

But while House Speaker John Boehner declined to endorse him for re-election, Majority Leader Eric Cantor did not move to force him to resign his seat.

Grimm has a history of run-ins with the press, most notably after the State of the Union when he threatened TV reporter Michael Scotto, whom he said he would throw over the balcony after Scotto asked him about the federal investigation into his finances.

"I'll break you in half," Grimm said to Scotto. "Like a boy."

Grimm told Politico he regretted the incident, but that the press has long pushed him.

"I just felt it was another cheap shot," he explained. "The way I look at it is, people say, 'Well he doesn't want to talk about this.' The issues out there that are effecting my constituents are so much bigger than the nonsense that so many reporters want to talk about."

New Yorkers "are behind me now more than ever, because I get results," Grimm said. "And yet the press focuses on the most ridiculous nonsense that I can dream about. Look, I'll sum it up. What do I think of the press? I think, right now, and it's been this way for two years: If I pass a burning building, and I stop and I run in and I save a baby, you know what the headline will be? 'Grimm starts the fire.' That's just the reality."

Grimm is accused of concealing about $1 million in gross receipts and hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages to employees at his Healthalicious chain of restaurants, all before his election to Congress in 2011. The former FBI agent is also charged with perjury for allegedly lying about his business practices under oath in 2013.

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