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Archive for the tag 'michael grimm'

grimm

The trial of Congressman Michael Grimm, facing tax fraud allegations and other charges, has been postponed until February 2. At a hearing on the postponement, prosecutors hinted that some of the charges could be split from the indictment and prosecuted in a separate trial.

During a hearing on Tuesday, Grimm’s defense landed a minor victory, winning the postponement from an early December date until February 2 so that they can review materials. Prosecutors turned over approximately 100 hours of recorded conversations, including 10 hours conducted in a foreign language. The defense team said they’d need extra time to review them because, “I’d be sitting at my desk for two full working weeks,” said defense lawyer Jeffrey Neiman, according to the Staten Island Advance.

The judge also denied Grimm’s legal team’s request earlier this month for information from the prosecution that they thought would prove the investigation was the result of a political witch hunt and professional vendettas. That included knowing the involvement of particular FBI investigators and the role played by a prosecutor now running as a Democratic candidate for State Assembly.

The judge found the claims without merit, calling it “unsupported and random speculation.” The New York Times reports:

Prosecutors pointed out that there were 10 other cases involving cash payrolls to avoid taxes from 2012 to 2014, making it hard for Mr. Grimm to argue that he alone was selected. Mr. Kaminsky, they said, never acted with improper motive and was only one of several prosecutors involved in the investigation. As for the idea that the office chose Mr. Grimm for his politics, the other elected officials the office prosecuted in the last four years were Democrats, prosecutors said.

The judge is still mulling a motion to dismiss three perjury-related charges on the basis of jurisdictional issues. Because it pertained to his Manhattan-based restaurant, the defense argues that charges should have been filed in the Southern District of New York, not the Eastern District, which is where he’s being prosecuted.

The Advance notes:

Prosecutors conceded the jurisdictional issue, but Judge Pamela Chen stopped short of dismissing those three counts without prejudice Tuesday, as Grimm’s defense team is still seeking to dismiss the entire case, perjury charges and all, arguing “selective and vindictive prosecution.”

“In effect, the venue motion is really a separation motion of the perjury and obstruction counts, effectively resulting in two trials for the price of one,” Gatta said. “We’re happy to oblige the defendant if he wants two trials.”

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When news broke in 2012 that Congressman Michael Grimm was the target of a federal investigation, the pol said it was a liberal media conspiracy. Now the pol’s defense team is depicting it as a political witch hunt led by a prosecutor with electoral aspirations, and aided by former FBI colleagues settling a score.

Grimm pleaded not guilty to a 20-count indictment that alleges, among other things, tax evasion, fraud and illegal hiring practices connected to a restaurant he owned before running for office. The trial is set to begin in December, but the pol’s legal team sent a pair of letters earlier this month that appear to suggest the direction their defense will take – not one that clears his name of tax fraud, but one that says he was only caught because the prosecution sought to take down a Republican.

Staten Island Advance reports:

In a letter dated Oct. 1, Grimm’s lawyers, Jeffrey A. Neiman and Daniel Rashbaum, fired off a list of 14 questions to federal prosecutors, many asking about the role of former Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Kaminsky in the investigation into the congressman.

Kaminsky, a Democrat, left the U.S. attorney’s office after the tax evasion indictment was announced to run for state Assembly.

“What role did former Assistant United States Attorney Todd Kaminsky have in the investigation of Mr. Grimm?” one question asks.

“When did Mr. Kaminsky first notify the United States Attorney’s Office of his intention to seek political office, informally or formally?” asks another.

… Grimm’s team also asked what role FBI Supervisory Special Agent Anthony Bivona and Assitant Special Agent in Charge Mary Gallingan played in the investigation, as well as many other indictments the U.S. Attorney’s office has sought in the past five years regarding restaurants paying employees in cash, under-reporting cash sales to the Internal Rvenue Service, or “hiring illegal aliens as employees.”

Neiman and Rashbaum wrote a second letter on Oct. 1, asking for documents, notes, copies of inconsistent statements, and criminal or psychiatric histories of witnesses in the case.

In a response dated October 2, Lynch’s office said they would provide relevant info prior to trial as required by law. But her office bristled at the 14 questions, saying they were neither pertinent, nor legally required.

“It should be noted, however, that the 14 questions about the investigation and other cases seek information that is irrelevant to the charges of this case…. The government therefore respectfully declines to provide the information sought in these 14 requests,” Lynch writes.

The Daily News has a little more about the request for information regarding the special agents:

Team Grimm appears poised to take on supervisory FBI Special Agents Anthony Bivona and Mary Galligan. Sources said Bivona had a falling-out with Grimm and Galligan led an internal probe of Grimm before he left the bureau.

SILive.com has full copies of the letters.

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.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is deep in a campaign to register new voters across the nation in their hopes of taking back the House. In the 11th District, currently represented by Michael Grimm, the initiative has seen 6,600 new voters enter the fray.

The nationwide effort is being hailed as “an unprecedented field operation” and has already racked up more than 60,000 new voter registrations. It’s fueled by a well-financed campaign committee war-chest that dwarfs the Republican’s coffers by about $33 million.

With more than 500 paid staffers dispatched to 48 districts around the nation, the 11th District held by Grimm is being seen as a top-prize.

It’s Democratic challenger Domenic Recchia who stands to benefit from the new registrants. Although not all the new voters are bound to be Democrats since even DCCC employees must sign up anybody that asks, it’s more than likely they focused their new enrollment efforts in neighborhoods – particularly including Brooklyn – that lean Democratic.

To get an idea of the effect 6,600 new voters can have on this election, keep in mind that in the 2012 election only about 37,000 votes were cast – so 6,600 votes would be approximately 20 percent growth.

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

Democrat Domenic Recchia missed last night’s debate in Bay Ridge, giving Republican Congressman Michael Grimm, whose seat he’s seeking, an opportunity to bash him relentlessly.

The Staten Island Advance reports:

“He will be lockstep with Mayor de Blasio and the president,” Grimm said. “He voted with Mayor de Blasio 99 percent [of the time] when they were in the City Council together. OK, so if you believe the Brooklyn Bridge should have an $8 toll, that’s what he voted for.”

The congressman had the stage all to himself Tuesday and looked to connect himself to President Ronald Reagan, while slamming Recchia for voting in favor of extending term limits in the Council.

“He doesn’t care what you think and he proved that when he voted to extend term limits,” Grimm said of Recchia. ” … the people voted on term limits twice but my opponent said, ‘No, I’m going to have a third term.'”

In an interview with the press after the debate, Grimm said Recchia wasn’t there because he wasn’t prepared to debate the congressman and doesn’t know the issues.

The Recchia campaign said he was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict.

Between the attacks, Recchia did find the time to address some issues:

He blamed Obama for a lack of a foreign policy, saying it had led to ISIS being emboldened to attack the United States. He said there needs to be a strong coalition to battle ISIS, which he called “the most funded, most brutal group we’ve ever faced.”

Grimm supports closing the Mexican border, and said the Affordable Care Act had “destroyed everything that was good” about the American health care system.

Grimm said he supports hydrofracking — “when done safely and responsibly, it’s the safe thing to do.”

The debate was organized by the Bay Ridge Community Council. Read more at SILive.com.

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Embattled Congressman Michael Grimm is holding a lead, though just barely, against Democratic challenger Domenic Recchia, according to a new poll from NY1 / Capital New York/ Siena.

Grimm, who faces an embarrassing 20-count indictment on tax evasion and perjury charges, hold a four-point lead on Recchia among likely voters, with a 44-40 split. The poll’s margin of error is 4 percent, according to Capital New York.

The outlet reports:

“To see an incumbent six points below 50, that’s not a good sign,” said Steve Greenberg, a pollster for Siena College.

Grimm has the support of 73 percent of Republicans, and 27 percent of Democrats, and leads among independents, 47-33.

But 54 percent of voters said Grimm’s indictment makes them less likely to vote for the second-term congressman, including 39 percent of Republicans and 21 percent of voters who said they’re currently supporting Grimm.

“He cannot afford to lose a fifth of his voters right now,” said Greenberg.

… A near-majority of likely voters—49 percent—said they view Grimm unfavorably, compared to 39 percent who said they had a favorable opinion of him. Those opinions were split along party lines, with 60 percent of Republicans holding a favorable opinion of Grimm, and 30 percent unfavorable—numbers that were reversed among Democrats.

Predictably, Grimm is performing better in Staten Island, where the majority of the district’s voters live, while Recchia is outperforming the incumbent in Brooklyn, which the Democrat represented in the City Council.

Notably, nearly half of the district’s voters said they know little or nothing about Recchia.

To see the full results of the poll, look here, and also check out Capital’s analysis.

Grimm faces criminal charges for tax evasion, fraud, conspiracy and illegal hiring practice, all in connection to an Upper East Side restaurant he once owned. The pol has denied wrongdoing.

Long before those charges, the congressman was dogged by probes of his fundraising for the 2010 campaign. While no charges were filed against the pol, two associates including an ex-girlfriend face charges.

His trial is scheduled for after the November elections.

Jamaica F Train

Local leaders are putting pressure on the MTA to restore express service on the F train in Brooklyn, last experienced by commuters in 1987, while the MTA remains a bit iffy on the issue.

In a letter sent to MTA Chairman Thomas F. Prendergast today, a bipartisan group of 14 city, state, and federal leaders said that the “benefits of restoring the F train express service in Brooklyn would be felt throughout the borough with decreased travel time to Manhattan, decreased delays along the entire line, and a better quality of life for all subway riders in our communities.”

To that end, they’d like to see limited northbound F express service restored in the mornings and southbound F express service in the evenings, saying this could also help ease crowding caused by an increase in ridership over the past year at 19 of the 22 Brooklyn F stops.

The MTA has been studying the possibility, but says that track work on the Culver Viaduct would have to be completed before they could do it — and they don’t have an end date for that, reports AM New York. Additionally, there are other challenges to restoring express service — track space for when the rails merge between the Bergen St and Jay St stops, as well as figuring out how riders at different stations will be impacted by the change.

“The largest volumes are getting on at some of the stations closer in anyway,” MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg told AM New York. “How much savings is there really? That’s why we’re doing the study, to find out.”

2009 review of the F line that State Senator Daniel Squadron created with the MTA cited those issues, and added that express service “would require additional trains and cars; such a service increase would increase operating costs.”

The elected officials who sent the letter are Borough President Eric Adams; Representatives Hakeem Jeffries, Jerrold Nadler, and Michael Grimm; State Senators Martin Golden, Diane Savino, and Squadron; Assembly Members James Brennan, Steven Cymbrowitz, William Colton, and Joan Millman; and Council Members Stephen Levin, David Greenfield, and Mark Treyger.

They all believe the benefits outweigh the costs — what do you think, do we need express service back on the F?

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Congressman Michael Grimm’s trial on fraud and tax evasion charges is set to begin on December 1 after a federal judge yesterday denied a request from the lawmaker’s defense team to delay it.

The trial will take place after the November election, but not long enough after it to satisfy Grimm’s defense who worry the jury will be tainted by campaign ads focused on the pol’s alleged misdeeds.

Capital New York reports:

“We’re obviously in the heart of an election cycle right now,” Jeffrey Neiman, an attorney representing Grimm, told the court. He noted that the DCCC has begun featuring ads attacking Grimm that showcase his corruption trial, including a new one that began airing locally yesterday, which includes a clip of U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch announcing the 20-count indictment against Grimm.

“We’re concerned about ensuring Mr. Grimm has a fair trial, and if the jury sees these repeated ads, we’re concerned that there may be prejudice,” Neiman said, asking for “a bit of a cooling-off period post-election” that he said would “more than ensure a fair trial for Mr. Grimm.”

Neiman requested a one month postponement, but the judge assured him that the court was capable of ensuring a fair trial for a high-profile defendant.

Grimm was slapped with a 20-count indictment for tax evasion, fraud, conspiracy and illegal hiring practices earlier this year, all in connection to an Upper East Side restaurant he once owned. The pol has denied wrongdoing.

Long before those charges, the congressman was dogged by probes of his fundraising for the 2010 campaign. While no charges were filed against the pol, two associates including an ex-girlfriend face charges.

Diana Durand, the reported former flame, is accused of using straw donors to steer more than $10,000 in illegal donations to Grimm. She is scheduled to enter a plea deal in court today.

Grimm faces a challenge from former councilman Domenic Recchia, who is trouncing the incumbent in fundraising with help from national Democrats.

Former Councilman Domenic Recchia, who is challenging embattled Congressman Michael Grimm, released his campaign’s first television ad this week. The message appears to be an attempt to boost his Staten Island credentials.

The ad, called “Saturday,” follows the Democratic candidate on what it claims is a “typical Saturday.” He heads to Staten Island to take care of mom, back to Brooklyn to shuttle his daughters around, returns to the Island for a nephew’s ballgame, then Brooklyn again, then the Island, then… you get the idea.

If you were hoping the ad might have something about his stance on federal issues like, say, military spending or corporate tax incentives or a federal marriage equality proposal – well, keep hoping. It ain’t in this ad. Instead it says he’ll fight for lower tolls on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge – a state issue – because he doesn’t want to go broke spending all that time in Staten Island.

But, hey, there’s a lot of Staten Island in there. That’s probably a response to the often-touted political wisdom that a Brooklyn candidate can’t represent the Island, which has made us wonder whether an Island rep can represent Brooklyn.

It’s not the only campaign advertising going around. Grimm, a Republican, seems to be short on the ad front, which probably has something to do with his mounting debt and fundraising issues. But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is piling on with a video ad that’s been bombarding my Pandora account, called “Charges.” It looks like a pretty good flick.

grimm2Congressman Michael Grimm, facing a 20-count indictment on tax evasion, fraud and illegal hiring practices, may now head to trial in October, a month before elections.

SILive reports:

Speaking at a status conference in Brooklyn federal court on Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Gatta said that motion procedures and hearings in the case could be held by the end of September, with a trial to begin the following month.

… Gatta said that the discovery in the case is “not particularly voluminous” and that the case itself “is fairly straightforward.”

Grimm’s new attorney, Daniel Rashbaum, said that that “schedule may be OK. I don’t know yet.”

He sought a three- or four-week delay so that he could look at the evidence. By then, Rashbaum said, he’d have a better idea “what the discovery looks like in my mind.”

But U.S. District Court Judge Pamela K. Chen said she would give Rashbaum, who notified the court last week that he was taking over the defense, two weeks to “dive into the material.”

Prior to the conference yesterday, observers believed Grimm would not go to trial until after the November 4 elections, when he faces off against Democrat Domenic Recchia. If the prosecution’s request for an October court date is granted, it would be a significant blow to the pol, who will have to fight simultaneously for his seat and his freedom.

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