A New York Republican congressman pleaded guilty today to a felony tax charge that carries a punishment of up to three years in prison, but said he won’t resign.
Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) kept his House seat in November with 53 percent of the vote compared to 40 percent for his Democratic challenger, councilman Domenic Recchia.
The former FBI agent and Marine veteran won his third term despite the 20-count indictment brought against him in April for tax evasion and perjury, and despite threatening a Capitol Hill reporter in the rotunda in January while the camera was still rolling.
NY1 political reporter Michael Scotto tried to ask Grimm about an investigation into his campaign finances. “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f—–g balcony,” the congressman said.
The reporter asked why Grimm would say that since he asked a valid question.
“No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy,” Grimm said.
Grimm didn’t quite apologize, saying in a statement afterward that the reporter knew he was in too much of a hurry to go off-topic. “I verbally took the reporter to task and told him off, because I expect a certain level of professionalism and respect, especially when I go out of my way to do that reporter a favor,” Grimm said.“I doubt that I am the first Member of Congress to tell off a reporter, and I am sure I won’t be the last.”
He would later personally call the reporter to apologize.
Outside federal court today after pleading guilty, Grimm told reporters he would not resign.
“As I said before as long as I am able to serve I will serve,” he added, according to ABC.
House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) office said the leader will need to meet with Grimm before issuing any sort of public statement. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Boehner “must insist that Congressman Grimm resign immediately.”
Grimm is currently the only Republican representing a part of New York City in the House.