Grimm’s Wings Clipped

     BROOKLYN (CN) – Former U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm can’t go to Europe this summer to pursue business opportunities, a federal judge ruled.
     Grimm used to represent 75,000 New Yorkers on Staten Island and the southern tip of Brooklyn before copping guilty in December to one of 20 counts of federal tax fraud stemming from the operation of his then-business, Healthalicious, on Manhattan.
     The former Marine and FBI agent faces up to three years in prison when sentenced in June.
     He asked the court Wednesday for permission to spend a week in Europe this summer to pursue business opportunities, but U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen knocked him down as a potential flight risk.
     “While Grimm’s incentive to flee arguably will be no greater in the spring than it is now, his opportunity to do so and to travel even further to a jurisdiction where he can avoid extradition, would surely be enhanced if he is permitted to leave the United States for a week,” the Thursday order states.
     Chen was also unimpressed by Grimm’s offering of his home as collateral. “Obviously, if Grimm chose to flee, he would not need a house in the United States,” she noted.
     “While Grimm is certainly entitled to seek future employment, his desire to obtain a particular job does not trump the need to ensure his appearance for sentencing,” Chen wrote.
     Under pressure by voters, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo set a special election for May 5 to fill Grimm’s seat.
     City councilman Vincent Gentile, a Brooklyn Democrat, will square off against Staten Island’s district attorney, Republican Daniel Donovan, in the race.

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