A week after Rep. Michael Grimm was charged with tax evasion and fraud, a Texas woman who raised some cash for his first campaign had her own day in court in Brooklyn, but her attorney says it's her past relationship with Grimm that is catching the eye of federal prosecutors. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
Relationship baggage may have a new meaning for Diana Durand. At least, that's what her attorney says.
"Our client is involved or being prosecuted more so for her relationship, or her former relationship, with the congressman," said Stuart Kaplan, Durand's attorney.
That congressman is Michael Grimm.
The Texas woman walked into federal court to face federal charges on Monday. She is accused of violating campaign finance laws and making false statements to the FBI. She pleaded not guilty.
Her lawyer said she was targeted by the U.S. attorney because she and the Republican congressman from Staten Island were "close."
"They had a very close relationship," Kaplan said.
Outside of court, neither Durand nor her attorney would give details about the relationship, only to say it was long-distance, and that it looks like it's over.
"They understand the dynamics of the situation now, and so obviously, each one is struggling with their own situation," Kaplan said.
They are both facing federal criminal charges.
Durand is accused of using straw donors to get Grimm over-the-limit campaign contributions during his first run for Congress.
"Obviously, if the congressman wasn't part of her relationship, she probably would not be standing here today," Kaplan said.
Grimm was charged with tax evasion and fraud last week, charges that have nothing to do with his campaign operation, but instead with a health food restaurant on the Upper East Side. He was a co-owner before taking his seat in Congress.
Grimm's campaign had been under federal investigation for more than two years.
Outside of court, Durand refused to comment on the charges. She only spoke when she was asked her age.
"That it has to do with age? Yeah, no comment," she said.
Grimm's attorney told NY1 that the congressman also had no comment.
Whatever Grimm and Durand's relationship may or may not have been, Durand's attorney argued that it could come with a price. Durand faces eight years behind bars.