Congressman Quits After Guilty Plea On Taxes

Sky News US Team
Congressman Quits After Guilty Plea On Taxes

US Congressman Michael Grimm has announced he will resign days after pleading guilty to tax evasion.

The New York Republican issued a statement saying he will stand down on 5 January.

"The events which led to this day did not break my spirit, nor the will of the voters," Grimm said.

"However, I do not believe that I can continue to be 100% effective in the next Congress, and therefore, out of respect for the office and the people I so proudly represent, it is time for me to start the next chapter of my life."

Grimm, 44, pleaded guilty last week to aiding in the filing of a false tax return.

He was accused of underreporting more than $1m (£640,000) in wages and receipts to evade payroll, income and sales taxes, partly by paying immigrant workers - some of them in the country illegally - in cash.

Top Democrats in the House called on Grimm to resign, but the former Marine and FBI agent vowed to stay in Congress after his plea.

Grimm, who represents Staten Island and part of Brooklyn, was re-elected in November, even though he was under indictment.

The decision to quit came after Grimm reportedly talked with House Speaker John Boehner.

Mr Boehner's spokesman declined to discuss the private conversation.

Grimm's lawyer Stuart Kaplan said on Tuesday that Grimm displayed "great humility in moving forward for himself, as well as his constituents".

Grimm made headlines last January after he was caught on camera threatening to throw a New York City cable news station reporter off the balcony inside the US Capitol.

He told NY1 News' Michael Scotto he would "break him in half" after the reporter asked him about the FBI's investigation into his campaign finances.

Grimm could face between 12 and 30 months in prison on the tax evasion charge. Sentencing is scheduled for 8 June.