Not a joke. Congressman Michael Grimm (R-NY) was furious when a reporter from New York 1 asked about a brewing campaign finance scandal at the end of the interview. He refused to answer and walked off camera. After the reporter wrapped up the segment Rep. Grimm then came back into view of the camera and began to threaten the reporter.
“So Congressman Michael Grimm does not want to talk about some of the allegations concerning his campaign finances,” Scotto said before tossing back to the station. But as the camera continued to roll, Grimm walked back up to Scotto and began speaking to him in a low voice.
“What?” Scotto responded. “I just wanted to ask you…”
Grimm: “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f—–g balcony.”
Scotto: “Why? I just wanted to ask you…”
Grimm: “If you ever do that to me again…”
Scotto: “Why? Why? It’s a valid question.”
Grimm: “No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”
The campaign finance scandal involves Grimm’s girlfriend making straw donations, Grimm himself is not accused of any impropriety at this time.
Grimm later issued a statement where he did not apologize for the threats and, ironically, called the reporter “unprofessional.” The statement does not even make the pretense of an apology to the report nor for the conduct.
Michael Grimm previously worked for the FBI and is an attorney, so he should know you are not allowed to threaten to physically harm someone for asking you questions about your public service. Especially valid questions about legitimate campaign finance violations.
Update: Congressman Grimm has now apologized to the reporter he threatened.
Grimm called Scotto Wednesday morning and offered the verbal apology saying he “overreacted.”
Scotto tells NY1 he accepted the apology and believes that it was sincere. Grimm also released a written apology following the phone call.
It reads, “I was wrong. I shouldn’t have allowed my emotions to get the better of me and lose my cool. I have apologized to Michael Scotto, which he graciously accepted, and will be scheduling a lunch soon. In the weeks and months ahead I’ll be working hard for my constituents on issues like flood insurance that is so desperately needed in my district post Sandy.”