After guilty plea, NY con­gress­man says he’ll re­sign Jan. 5

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY LARRY NEUMEIS­TER AND STEPHEN OHLEMACHER

A U.S. con­gress­man who pleaded guilty to tax eva­sion just days ago has an­nounced he’ll re­sign from of­fice next week be­cause he would not be able to give the job his full at­ten­tion any­more.

Repub­li­can Rep. Michael Grimm of New York is­sued a state­ment late Mon­day say­ing he will re­sign ef­fec­tive Jan. 5.

“The events which led to this day did not break my spirit, nor the will of the vot­ers,” he said. “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.”

Grimm’s guilty plea last week to aid­ing in the fil­ing of a false tax re­turn came after he was re­elected to his seat rep­re­sent­ing Staten Is­land and part of Brook- lyn in Novem­ber, even though he was un­der indictment.

Fol­low­ing the plea, Grimm said he would stay in Congress as long as he could.

Grimm re­port­edly talked with House Speaker John Boehner 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.”

The new Congress is sched­uled to open Jan. 6, and Grimm’s pres­ence would have been a dis­trac­tion for Repub­li­cans who will con­trol both the House and the Se­nate.

House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi and the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee had called on Grimm to re­sign.

A for­mer Marine and FBI agent, Grimm was elected to Congress in 2010, scor­ing an up­set win over first-term Demo­cratic Rep. Michael McMa­hon.

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 US$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.

Sen­tenc­ing was sched­uled for June 8. Pros­e­cu­tors said a range of 24 to 30 months in prison would be ap­pro­pri­ate, while the de­fense es­ti­mated the ap­pro­pri­ate sen­tence as be­tween 12 and 18 months.

After his court ap­pear­ance, Grimm said he planned to stay in Congress. “As long as I’m able to serve, I’m go­ing to serve,” he said.

He also apol­o­gized for his ac­tions. “I should not have done it and I am truly sorry for it,” he said.

But in his state­ment Mon­day, Grimm said he made his “very dif­fi­cult decision ... with a heavy heart” after much thought and prayer.

The New York Daily News first re­ported Grimm’s plans to give up his seat.

AP

Rep. Michael Grimm leaves fed­eral court in Brook­lyn after plead­ing guilty to a fed­eral tax eva­sion charge rather than go to trial next month, in New York on Tues­day, Dec. 23.

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