Rep. Michael Grimm Announces He Will Resign After Guilty Plea
UPDATED 12/30/14 7:30 a.m.
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) has announced he'll resign from office next week because he would not be able to give the job his full attention anymore.
Grimm issued a statement late Monday saying he will resign effective Jan. 5.
"After much thought and prayer, I have made the very difficult decision to step down from Congress," Grimm said in a statement. "This decision is made with a heavy heart, as I have enjoyed a very special relationship and closeness with my constituents, whom I care about deeply."
Grimm continued in the statement: "The events which led to this day did not break my spirit, nor the will of the voters. However, I do not believe that I can continue to be 100 percent effective in the next Congress, and therefore, out of respect for the Office and the people I so proudly represent, it is time for me to start the next chapter of my life."
The Staten Island congressman pleaded guilty last week to a federal tax evasion charge in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn. The case stemmed from an investigation of his campaign financing.
He pleaded guilty to one count of aiding in the filing of a false tax return. He'd been set to go to trial in February.
Following the plea, Grimm said he would stay in Congress as long as he could.
Grimm talked with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, before deciding to step down. Boehner has forced other lawmakers to resign for lesser offenses.
Boehner has not discussed Grimm's future publicly. Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in an email, "We do not discuss private conversations the speaker has with members.''
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and the Democratic National Committee had called on Grimm to resign.
As CBS2's Dave Carlin reported last week, the congressman's public confession was a stunning turnaround for a man who had spent years maintaining his innocence.
"I should not have done it and I'm truly sorry for it," Grimm said last week.
Sentencing is set for June 8. Prosecutors said between 24 and 30 months in prison would be appropriate; the defense estimated the appropriate sentence as 12 to 18 months.
According to an indictment, the tax fraud began in 2007 after Grimm retired from the FBI and began investing in a small Manhattan restaurant called Healthalicious.
The indictment accused him of underreporting more than $1 million in wages and receipts to evade payroll, income and sales taxes, partly by paying immigrant workers, some of them in the country illegally, in cash.
"Although it was a little restaurant, I made some very big mistakes; mistakes that I immensely, immensely regret," Grimm said.
Rep. Michael Grimm Plans To Resign After Guilty Plea
The case stemmed from an investigation of Grimm's campaign financing. He was never charged with any offense related to his campaign, but a woman romantically linked to him pleaded guilty in September to lining up straw donors for his 2010 run.
Grimm won re-election in November while fighting the charges.
He also made headlines in January after telling NY1 reporter Michael Scotto he wanted to throw the journalist off a balcony in the Capitol for asking about the campaign finance inquiry.
Grimm issued a statement soon afterward saying he has apologized to Scotto, which he said the reporter "was very gracious" and accepted his apology.
An independent advisory office recommended that the House Ethics Committee investigate the balcony incident. The ethics panel deferred its investigation into Grimm while the Justice Department case was ongoing.
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