A lawyer for Rep. Michael Grimm said Friday he expects federal prosecutors to soon file criminal charges against the Staten Island Republican, but he called the effort a “politically driven vendetta” rather than a search for truth.
“After more than two years of investigation plagued by malicious leaks, violations of grand jury secrecy, and strong-arm tactics, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has disclosed its intent to file criminal charges against Congressman Grimm,” attorney William McGinley said in a statement.
Grimm, a former FBI agent who has enjoyed the backing of the tea party, has been the focus of a federal investigation for more than two years into some of his business dealings and fundraising activities tied to his first campaign for the House in 2010.
McGinley, contacted by telephone, declined to say how soon he expected the charges will be filed. But in his statement, he said Grimm asserts his innocence of any wrongdoing.
“We are disappointed by the government’s decision, but hardly surprised,” McGinley said in the statement.
A House Ethics Committee review launched in June 2012 has been on hold since November at the request of the Justice Department.
In January, the FBI arrested a fundraiser for Grimm on charges that she illegally funneled more than $10,000 into his campaign. Grimm has also faced a continuing federal investigation into accusations that he or his campaign illegally solicited money from foreign donors.
A former aide to a well-known Orthodox rabbi, Yoshiyahu Pinto, pleaded guilty last year to visa fraud, and has been reported to be key figure in the probe.
Grimm is a former Marine and he often uses his military service to push back at criticism. He made news earlier this year after he threatened to throw a NY1 reporter off a balcony after the reporter asked Grimm about the federal probe following the president’s State of the Union address.
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