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Veterans Appear to Be Backing Grimm Amid Indictment

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TWC News: Veterans Appear to Be Backing Grimm Amid Indictment
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This week, national Republicans were not rushing to the aid of indicted congressman Michael Grimm. But in his district and beyond veterans appear to be backing the Republican despite the 20 counts he faces. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

When it comes to the federal indictment against him, Rep. Michael Grimm is defending himself in one specific way.

"I don't abandon my post. I didn't abandon my post when I was being fired upon in combat," he said on Monday.

"At the end of the day, I'm a Marine," he said on Tuesday. "I don't relent. I don't give up."

Grimm is referring to a piece of his biography that helped him declare victory in 2010: His military record.

"I know on Staten Island, he's pretty big here, and the veterans look up to him," said Robert Mirra of VFW Post 5090.

All told, Grimm was on active duty as a Marine for a little more than a year. A copy of his Marine personnel file shows that Grimm was on the ground in both Kuwait and Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm, about four months. He received 11 medals and commendations.

Now facing a 20-count indictment, it's this 1990s record that the congressman keeps referencing.

Veterans on Staten Island appear to be rallying behind him.

"You try not to leave a Marine behind," said John Hojnacki, a Marine veteran. "If a Marine is in trouble, you try to support that Marine. Michael Grimm is a Marine. I am a Marine, and I'm speaking as a Marine."

"Whatever happens with these indictments won't necessarily change how we feel," said Michael Abramovich of the Staten Island Veteran Group.

"I haven't spoken to anyone that's against him so far," Mirra said. "They're surprised at the allegations, but they're waiting to see what the outcome is."

Already, his Democratic rival, Domenic Recchia, is picking up on the surge of support from New York's vets.

"We have to focus on creating jobs for the vets and helping the vets and bringing back funding for the district for veteran programs," Recchia said. "This was something that Michael Grimm was not able to do."

While it's clear that the congressman is holding on to support from veterans on Staten Island, in the past, he has received endorsements from national organizations, and it's unclear if those groups will be staying by his side.

One group NY1 spoke to, Move America Forward, said the indictment didn't change anything. They were still ready to support Grimm.

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