Representative Michael G. Grimm has reportedly agreed to plead guilty to a single felony charge of tax fraud, according to a report in the New York Times. The congressman is scheduled to appear in federal court in Brooklyn for a plea hearing today. The report, citing several people with knowledge of the matter, claims that Mr. Grimm will most likely plead guilty to a single count of aiding or assisting in the preparation of a false or fraudulent tax return during the hearing. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because the agreement has not yet been announced.
Mr. Grimm, a Republican from Staten Island, was re-elected to Congress last month for a third term despite the pending federal indictment against him. He originally ran for office on the platform of enforcing law and order and fighting corruption. The congressman has consistently maintained his innocence during the proceedings and in public statements. Filing a guilty plea with the court would put him under tremendous pressure to resign from his elected post.
In April, Mr. Grimm was charged in a 20-count indictment as a result of an investigation into his past business practices. The congressman was accused of underreporting wages and revenue during his time running a fast-food restaurant on the Upper East Side of Manhattan called Healthalicious. Prosecutors said Mr. Grimm failed to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in employee wages, fraudulently decreasing his payments for federal and state tax obligations. Mr. Grimm is a former Marine and was once an agent working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He ran the business after working for the F.B.I. and before serving in Congress.
The investigation by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, the Internal Revenue Service and the F.B.I. apparently found ample evidence to support the accusations, as well as additional claims of campaign finance fraud and other improprieties. If Mr. Grimm does plead guilty, he could be sentenced to 24 to 30 months in prison by the judge on the case. His trial was scheduled to start on February 2.
Mr. Grimm has had a colorful run as a congressman. Earlier this year, Mr. Grimm threatened to throw a reporter over a balcony while on camera in the gallery of the Capitol rotunda. He has also publicly claimed that the investigation into his past was fueled by politics and old grudges. This story is still unfolding.