Targeted by both prosecutors and his political opponents, Congressman Michael Grimm is going on the offensive, but not in front of the cameras. The Republican who represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn is issuing a leaflet as he tries to hold on to his freedom and his seat in the House of Representatives. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
Michael Grimm's lawyer doesn't want to talk about his case.
The congressman wasn't at a hearing Monday. He's indicted on 20 counts, including tax evasion, related to a former business.
Legal woes are clouding his political future.
Last month, Grimm raised a tenth the contributions of his Democratic opponent, former City Councilman Domenic Recchia.
It's enough money for Grimm to hand out a double-sided flier noting Recchia's support for overturning term limits and ties to Mayor Bill de Blasio, spotlighting the mayor's push for low income housing. They appeared together in March.
"The mayor isn't very popular on the island and I don't know if it's going to be an effective strategy, but it seems to be the only card he can play right now," said Richard Flanagan of the College of Staten Island.
The term limits overturn is five-years old. His campaign says voters remember.
"It just gives you the impression that the opponent doesn't have any sense of what the general public is looking for," says Frank Aversa, of Grimm's campaign.
As for the legal case, supporters like Scott McGrath see a double standard.
"How do you say he can't be running for Congress, but you got Rangel, and he was found guilty and he's running again," McGrath says.
Congressman Charles Rangel committed ethics violations—but there's a bigger point.
"Grimm will harness a lot of resentment that Staten Islanders feel toward the liberal establishment, or rage against the man, in that Grimm has become something of an anti-hero," Flanagan says.
Recchia's campaign declined repeated requests to speak on camera.
A statement says in part: "Michael Grimm's distorted attacks on Domenic Recchia are a desperate attempt to distract voters from his 20-count federal indictment..."
As for Grimm, his campaign shoots down talk he'll resign in a plea deal.
The next hearing in this case is scheduled for August 8, and the judge is asking the congressman attend that one.
A trial can start as early as October. Of course, that's just before election day.