Rep. Michael G. Grimm told reporters on Monday afternoon that he would stay in office and run for a third term, delivering remarks outside a New York courthouse just hours after being indicted on 20 counts of misconduct.
The New York Republican labeled the events a “political witch hunt” and an “assassination of [his] character,” and vehemently maintained his innocence.
Grimm opened up his news conference with comments on the weather in Brooklyn and a joke about how, given the size of the crowd gathered to hear him speak, he must be more popular than the president.
“I am a moral man, a man of integrity,” he said, adding that his legal team would “fight tooth and nail” for his exoneration.
Grimm said that given he is a former U.S. Marine and was once an undercover FBI agent who sussed out white-collar crime on Wall Street, he has “shown I don’t abandon my post.”
He cited his efforts to secure aide for New York following the devastating Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and recent passage of his legislation to overhaul the national flood insurance program.
He did not once address the specific charges waged against him, nor did he agree to take questions from the press following his remarks and those of his attorney, Elizabeth Case.
Grimm wouldn’t say whether he was heading straight to Washington, D.C., but he insisted he was going “right back to work.”
Plus, he added, “I have an election to win.”
The House is due to reconvene after a two-week recess on Monday afternoon, with a series of votes planned for 6:30 p.m.
The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York unsealed a 20-count indictment of Grimm on Monday morning relating to his prior operation and ownership of a health food store on the Upper East Side of Manhattan called Healthalicious. The charges hold Grimm responsible for impeding the IRS; conspiring to defraud the United States; filing false tax returns; committing mail fraud, wire fraud, and health care fraud; hiring of undocumented immigrants; and lying under oath in a federal lawsuit brought against him by two former Healthalicious employees alleging they were never paid minimum wage or overtime.
Grimm was released from federal custody Monday on a $400,000 bond.