(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
In a predictable fashion, convicted felon and admitted liar, Representative Michael Grimm refused to resign from his seat representing Staten Island and part of Brooklyn in New York’s Congressional District 11.
Representative Grimm said he had no intention of stepping down. “Absolutely not,” he said.
He sounded equally resolute when he declared himself “guilty” to Judge Pamela K. Chen of United States District Court in Brooklyn, who accepted his plea and noted that it included his signing of a “statement of facts” in which he acknowledged committing perjury, hiring illegal immigrants and committing wire fraud.
Judge Chen then commanded Mr. Grimm to return to court for sentencing on June 8. Federal prosecutors, who along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service have investigated Mr. Grimm for years, are seeking a penalty of at least two years in prison. His lawyers, some of whom joined the proceedings via conference call from Florida, are asking for a more lenient sentence and will almost certainly recommend probation.
However, Judge Chen didn’t sound like she would be considering probation:
“Do you understand all of the possible consequences of your guilty plea?” she asked.
“I do, Your Honor,” he said.
Judge Chen warned that she could “depart upward or downward” from sentencing guidelines. Mr. Grimm said he understood, and also acknowledged that he had forfeited his right to appeal any sentence less than 33 months in jail.
Mr. Grimm still doesn’t have the decency to resign. Nor did 54% of Staten Island voters have the decency to reject him, even though it was clear in November that Mr. Grimm would at least be convicted of the tax evasion charge. The IRS rarely loses. Now, not only was he guilty of tax evasion but admitted that he lied and that the other charges were fact. How fitting that the red district of NYC should be represented by a Crook and a liar.
It took MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow two segments to highlight just how embarrassing this will be for the GOP to have a felon serving in congress and Sadly, the few options to pressure Mr. Grimm to resign.
Tuesday’s Rachel Maddow Show started off with a brief review of crimers in Congress. It’s not as long a list as you might think! She focuses on California Republican Jay Kim, who was convicted of campaign fraud in 1998 and became the first – and so far, only – member of Congress who walked its hallowed halls wearing a monitoring bracelet attached to his ankle. Kim’s estranged wife said he was “the most crime-committing person I know.” He lost his primary that year and soon became the footnote he was destined to be.
Actual felons in Congress are something of a rarity, Maddow notes, because of a reassuring human tendency to eventually do the right thing – either the convicted Congressturds resign or the voters pick someone else.
In a laughable editorial, the conservative Staten Island Advance Editorial Board, with its usual right wing slant that this was a political witch hunt, has suggested that Mr. Grimm to step down:
Just two months ago, the Staten Island Advance urged voters to elect Michael Grimm to a third term in the Congress.
That while he faced a 20-count federal indictment in connection with a health food restaurant he owned prior to entering political life.
Voters overwhelmingly agreed.
Today, we think Mr. Grimm would be right to step down from his position in the United States Congress. [..]
We have little doubt that legions of Mr. Grimm’s supporters will stand by him, and defend him.
But we also have little doubt that many on Staten Island are feeling their trust was misplaced and they were betrayed.
Over almost half a century, three different Staten Island representatives to the United States Congress have surrendered their better judgment, squandering their own significant talents that, in each instance, could have brought pride to our borough.
Instead, they brought embarrassment.
There are certain people who must be held to high standards in America. In recent months, we have seen so many examples of that. Police immediately come to mind. So does the mayor of New York.
People with whom we place our trust.
A United States congressman must be at, or certainly near, the top of that list.
Mr. Grimm the restaurateur didn’t let us down when he played fast and loose with the books. Mr. Grimm the Staten Island congressman did, when he played fast and loose with the truth.
This isn’t going away until Mr. Grimm goes away, hopefully, to prison where perhaps he’ll learn a little humility.