Seth Wenig/AP Photo
With Rep. Michael Grimm expected to plead guilty to a felony tax charge in arguably the highest-profile public corruption case in New York in decades, pressure is mounting on the New York Republican to resign from office.
ABC News has learned Grimm will plead guilty to one felony count of tax evasion in a Brooklyn federal court today. Judge Pamela K. Chen is scheduled to preside over the 1 p.m. ET plea hearing.
Last month, the House Ethics Committee again deferred consideration of Grimm’s alleged violations of campaign finance law to the Department of Justice. Grimm pleaded not guilty to a 20-count indictment last April stemming from allegations of fraud and misconduct tied to a New York restaurant he co-owned before taking office.
Grimm is also alleged to have solicited and accepted prohibited campaign contributions, caused false information to be included in campaign finance reports and allegedly made a deal with a foreign national to collect campaign contributions in exchange for help getting a green card.
Grimm holds a unique position in Congress: He is the only member of the House majority to represent New York City. But he also is a fairly typical species in Big Apple politics — a ranking elected official hauled into criminal court by the FBI. In the last five years, the city has seen an embarrassing parade of pols arrested, capped off by a bipartisan plot to try and rig the GOP nomination for mayor.
Plea negotiations had dragged on for months. Sources indicated the case against Grimm was “solid” but “not good for the bureau” given Grimm’s history as a former FBI agent.
Grimm’s spokesman and chief of staff did not immediately return requests aby ABC News for comment. The FBI’s New York office also declined comment.
Even before the court appearance, Democrats seized on the expected admission of guilt, calling on Grimm to resign from his seat in the House of Representatives.
“Now that the election is over, Congressman Grimm is finally admitting the truth to his constituents,” sniped House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, in a written statement. “Clearly, Speaker Boehner must insist that Congressman Grimm resign immediately.”
House Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel said Boehner “won’t have any announcements until the Speaker discusses the matter with Mr. Grimm.”
Members of Congress do not automatically forfeit their office upon conviction of a felony.
It’s unclear whether Grimm will resign. At an Oct. 16 debate, when asked by the moderator whether he would resign if found guilty, Grimm said, “If I was not able to serve then, of course, I would step aside.”
The two-term congressman gained national notoriety after he threatened to throw NY1/Time Warner Cable News reporter Michael Scotto off the Cannon Rotunda balcony following the president’s State of the Union address last January.
ABC News’ Mike Levine contributed to this report.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.
Want something else to read? How about ‘Grievous Censorship’ By The Guardian: Israel, Gaza And The Termination Of Nafeez Ahmed’s Blog