Former Republican Congressman Michael Grimm, who represented Staten Island in the U.S. House, was sentenced to eight months in prison for federal tax fraud on Friday morning. In addition to spending eight months in prison, Grimm will also have to serve a year of supervised release. He will be required to surrender to authorities on or before September 10, 2015, to begin serving his sentence.
Grimm escaped comparatively lightly after being indicted on 20 criminal counts in April 2014. He ultimately plead guilty to just a single count of federal tax fraud.
Grimm concealed nearly one million dollars worth of sales receipts from his Healthalicious Restaurant. He also admitted to hiring undocumented immigrants and he lied under oath during a 2013 civil deposition.
The ex-Congressman made national headlines in January 2014, when he threatened reporter Michael Scotto on camera, yelling:
Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f***ing balcony. You’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.
While Grimm avoided criminal charges for his violent outburst against the reporter, he could not escape the long arm of the law for his financial corruption. Grimm characterized the investigation against him as a political “witch hunt” but the evidence of his illegal activity was unquestionable.
The eight month prison term is fairly mild given the apparent depth of Grimm’s corruption, but many political observers expected him to escape jail time altogether. U.S. District Court Judge Pamela K. Chen could have sentenced Grimm to a maximum of three years in prison, but she opted to impose a more mid-range sentence, settling on giving him eight months behind bars.
During the proceedings the judge admonished Grimm, by stating:
Your moral compass, Mr. Grimm, needs some reorientation.
Everyone falls from grace when they are caught committing crimes. Some fall farther than others.
Representative Grimm has fallen from grace, a victim of his own corruption and his contempt for obeying the law. Hopefully when he gets to prison, he’ll be smart enough not to threaten to throw any of his fellow inmates over a balcony.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.