Grimm Leaves Congress After Copping to Tax Fraud

     BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CN) – Though he pledged that he would not resign after copping guilty two weeks earlier to a federal tax-evasion charge, U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm gave up his congressional Monday, an aide confirmed.
     “After much thought and prayer, I have made the very difficult decision to step down from Congress,” Grimm, a Republican who represents Staten Island and the southern tip of Brooklyn, said in a statement. “This decision is made with a heavy heart, as I have enjoyed a very special relationship and closeness with my constituents, whom I care about deeply.”
     A representative with Grimm’s office in Washington declined to comment on who Grimm backed to be his replacement.
     Grimm, a former FBI agent, Marine, attorney and restaurateur, faced 20 counts of felony tax-evasion charges for hiding millions in revenues and pay-outs, and for hiring undocumented workers at his Upper East Side eatery, Healthalicious, from 2007 to 2010.
     He had declared his innocence, but copped a deal just before Christmas, pleaded guilty in Brooklyn to one count of felony tax fraud.
     House Democratic leaders urged Grimm to resign, but he told reporters that he was staying put.
     Grimm, 44, faces up to three years in prison with a year of supervised release.
     U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen, who accepted his guilty plea ahead of a February trial, will determine his fines and sentencing on July 8.
     Despite the two-year investigation and the indictment against him, Grimm retained his congressional seat in November by a landslide.

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