Boehner: Resignation of NY Rep. Grimm 'honorable'
WASHINGTON (AP) - House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday that N.Y. Rep. Michael Grimm made the right decision by resigning from Congress after pleading guilty to tax evasion charges.
Boehner, R-Ohio, said that Grimm's decision was "honorable," adding that he knows Grimm made his decision "with the best interests of his constituents and the institution (of the House) in mind." Boehner said he appreciated Grimm's service to the House.
Grimm, a New York Republican, had vowed to stay in Congress as long as he could, even after his guilty plea last week. But he said Monday night that he plans to resign effective Jan. 5.
Grimm also said he did not believe he could be fully effective in the new Congress and needed to start the next chapter of his life.
"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 percent effective in the next Congress."
Grimm, 44, of Staten Island, pleaded guilty last week to aiding in the filing of a false tax return related to a Manhattan restaurant he ran before being elected to Congress.
Grimm made national headlines last year after he was captured on camera threatening to throw the reporter off a Capitol balcony following President Barack Obama's State of the Union address. The threat came after the reporter asked Grimm about an FBI probe into his campaign finances.
The new Congress is scheduled to convene Jan. 6, and Grimm's presence would have been a distraction for Republicans who will control both the House and the Senate.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and the Democratic National Committee had called on Grimm to resign.
It's up to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo to call a special election, which must be held between 70 to 80 days after Cuomo announces a congressional vacancy. The candidates would be chosen without a primary by the political parties or by petition.
A Cuomo spokesman did not immediately respond to questions about when a special election might be held.
Possible Democratic candidates include former City Council member Domenic Recchia, who lost to Grimm last month, as well as former U.S. Rep. Michael McMahon, who lost to Grimm in 2010.
Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan is considered a frontrunner on the Republican side. Donovan was the prosecutor in a case in which a grand jury cleared a white New York City police officer in the death of Eric Garner, a black man, after being placed in an apparent chokehold.
Garner's death touched off nationwide protests and was one of two police killings cited by a gunman who murdered two New York City police officers this month.
Donovan said in a statement Tuesday that he was "deeply flattered by the enthusiastic expressions of support" he has received since Grimm announced his intention to resign, adding that he was "very seriously considering the race."
Grimm, a former Marine and FBI agent, was elected to Congress in 2010, scoring an upset win over McMahon, a first-term congressman.
According to an indictment, the tax fraud began in 2007 after Grimm retired from the FBI and began investing in a small Manhattan restaurant called Healthalicious.
The indictment accused him of underreporting more than $1 million 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.
"The congressman fully embraces and accepts his responsibility for his actions," his lawyer, Stuart N. Kaplan, said in a statement Tuesday, adding that Grimm "shows great humility in moving forward for himself, as well as his constituents, to resign."
Grimm's sentencing is scheduled for June 8. Prosecutors said a range of 24 to 30 months in prison would be appropriate, while the defense estimated the appropriate sentence as between 12 and 18 months.
After his court appearance last week, Grimm said he planned to stay in Congress. He also apologized for his actions, saying, "I should not have done it, and I am truly sorry for it."
In his statement Monday, Grimm said he made his "very difficult decision ... with a heavy heart" after much thought and prayer.
Associated Press writers Stephen Ohlemacher in Washington and David Klepper in Albany contributed to this story. Neumeister reported from New York.More from AOL
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