Grimm seeks old congressional seat back, spent 8 months in jail

By Allen Cone  |  Updated Oct. 1, 2017 at 4:37 PM
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Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Michael Grimm announced Sunday he is running for his old seat in Congress less than two years after spending eight months in prison for tax fraud in New York.

Grimm, speaking in front of 100 supporters, announced he will run in the New York 11th Congressional district, which covers Staten Island and parts of South Brooklyn.

"This is Middle America!" Grimm, 47, said at the appearance in Staton Island's New Dorp. "We've beaten all the odds before! Our victory will be America's victory! Together, we'll go to Washington, and we'll have our president's back!"

Grimm pleaded guilty to a single count of tax fraud related to a Manhattan health food restaurant, Healthalicious, he co-owned before taking office. He said he paid more than $139,000 in restitution with a loan from his family.

"Quite frankly, it's embarrassing. I feel like I let my family down," Grimm said. "But at the same time, that's what family is for and it does make my family feel good they can help me for a change. Because I have been, from a very young age, the person they went to when they needed help."

He said the prison time "was one of the worst experiences of my life, by far. But it was nothing compared to boot camp. It was more of the embarrassment, and a little tough on me because I was formerly a federal agent, and everyone in there had been put there by a federal agent. But I carry myself a certain way. That's something I got from the Marine Corps. So I didn't have a problem."

As part of his guilty plea, Grimm admitted to lying under oath in a civil deposition.

"When I told people I'd be exonerated, I meant it, and if you asked me today if I committed a crime, my answer is no, with all my heart. Was I wrong? Yes. But I was civilly wrong. I take full responsibility for that; I don't hide from that," said Grimm.

In the Republican primary next year, he likely will face Dan Donovan, who won the seat in a special election.

In January 2014, he threatened to throw NY1's Michael Scotto off a balcony at the U.S. Capitol complex after the reporter questioned him about his campaign finances. Grimm, then a first-term congressman, later apologized to the reporter.

In November 2014, Grimm was reelected over former Brooklyn Councilman Domenic Recchia while under indictment. He resigned six weeks later after pleading guilty.

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