In what some are sure to view as a politically motivated prosecution, Obama’s Justice Department waited until just after a critical race deadline to announce the impending indictment of Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.)
The timing of the expected Grimm indictment also couldn’t be worse for Republicans. The filing deadline for that race has closed, meaning GOP leadership could be stuck with him on the ballot come Election Day.
In effect, they did the very same thing with late Republican Senator Ted Stevens, even securing a conviction which was later voided for DOJ misconduct. It’s anticipated that Grimm will be indicted by Obama appointee and now U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Loretta Lynch.
The expected indictment of Grimm is a major step for the Justice Department, which has not been as active in pursuing corruption cases involving sitting federal lawmakers since the debacle surrounding the late Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).
Stevens was indicted shortly before the 2008 elections and was later convicted on charges that he failed to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in improper gifts, including a home renovation. But the conviction was later voided after it was found that federal prosecutors withheld information from Stevens’s defense team.
The scandal badly damaged the reputation of DOJ’s Public Integrity unit, which had built an impressive résumé prosecuting corrupt congressmen and senators.
For their part, Grimm’s lawyers are asserting his innocence.
“When the dust settles, he will be vindicated. Until then, he will continue to serve his constituents with the same dedication and tenacity that has characterized his lifetime of public service as a Member of Congress, Marine Corps combat veteran, and decorated FBI Special Agent,” McGinley concluded.
Grimm has been under investigation for a range of allegations surrounding his business dealings and campaign finances, and drew increased scrutiny after a donor and close friend of the congressman was charged with funneling illegal contributions to Grimm’s campaign.