The New York Post scored an interesting story full of international intrigue and allegations of political corruption, and it stars the already embattled Congressman Michael Grimm.
The paper reports:
A top official in Israel tried to intimidate the rabbi who claims Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm shook him down for donations, sources familiar with the investigation told The Post.
The FBI is investigating allegations by Orthodox mystic Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, who testified against Grimm in 2010.
In 2011, then-Israeli Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, a follower of the rabbi, visited Pinto at his home in the city of Ashdod in southern Israel and told him that if he continued to cooperate with the FBI, “you’re going to have a disaster in Israel,” a source told The Post. “In Israel they’re going to ruin you.”
“The rabbi started off as a victim and did the right thing by seeking out law enforcement, and now has been victimized once again,” said Arthur Aidala, Pinto’s Manhattan lawyer. He has been joined by famed attorney Alan Dershowitz, who is a follower and longtime friend of the rabbi.
It is unclear whether Grimm was directly involved, but Pinto’s supporters believe he exerted his own pressure on Israeli power brokers fearful of losing the Republican congressman as a supporter.
Pinto, of course, did ultimately testify against the pol. He was later indicted in Israel for attempting to bribe officials, looting a charity and other charges.
Congressman Grimm is slated to go to court in December, after the elections, to face charges of tax evasion, fraud and illegal hiring practices in an apparently unrelated case. Prosecutors said they’re still investigating the pol’s fundraising activities, and no charges have been filed in that probe.