New York Republican Rep. Michael Grimm turned himself in to the FBI on Monday as authorities unveiled federal fraud charges against the Staten Island lawmaker.
Prosecutors say Grimm underreported income from his Upper East Side heath-food restaurant Healthalicious between 2007 and 2010. The indictment says Grimm faces 20 charges, including perjury, obstruction of justice, employment of undocumented immigrants and conspiracy to defraud the United States.
During a news conference after he was released on bail, Grimm said he will stay in office.
“I know I’m a moral man, a man of integrity and I also know that I have a lot more service and leadership to provide this country,” he said, USA Today reports. “I’m going to get back to work. I will not abandon my post or the wonderful people who entrusted me to represent them.”
Grimm, a former Marine and FBI agent, has drawn allegations of campaign violations since his first run in 2009 and 2010. The joint two-year investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office and the FBI initially focused on his fundraising, but later shifted its focus to the restaurant, the New York Times reports.
Two fundraisers for Grimm’s campaign have separately been charged, including a Texas woman, Diana Durand,who allegedly illegally funneled $10,000 to his campaign, and an Israeli fundraiser, Ofer Biton, who pleaded guilty to an immigration fraud charge in August. Biton helped connect Grimm with Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, a celebrity Rabbi in New York whose followers donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Grimm’s campaign, according to USA Today.
William McGinley, Grimm’s lawyer, said Friday that the U.S. attorney’s office was planning to file charges and said in a statement at the time, “When the dust settles, he will be vindicated.”
Grimm became the focus of media attention in January after telling a local news reporter inquiring about the allegations after the State of the Union, “I’ll throw you off this f—g balcony.” He later apologized for the incident, saying, “I lost my cool, and it shouldn’t have happened.”
The indictment came after the filing deadline to run for Congress in New York, meaning that Grimm will remain on the ballot as the Republican nominee in a tough swing district even while facing the threat of conviction.
“I have an election to win,” Grimm said at Monday’s news conference.