Staten Island’s Donovan Succeeds Grimm in Congress

     (CN) – The Staten Island prosecutor who nailed former U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm on tax fraud charges won the special election to fill that newly open seat in Congress.
     Donovan, a Republican otherwise best known for convening the much-criticized grand jury investigation into the death of Eric Garner, handily defeated his Democratic opponent, New York City Councilman Vincent Gentile, 59 percent to 40 percent, or 23,400 to 15,800 votes.
     There was no mention of Garner in Donovan’s acceptance speech, but he did proffer a moment of silence for NYPD Officer Brian Moore, 25, who was shot in the face and killed earlier this week in Queens.
     Gentile, in his concession speech, didn’t mention either tragedy explicitly.
     “All lives matter,” the councilman said, spinning off the nationwide rallying cry of “black lives matter.”
     Donovan meanwhile said his election sends a message to President Barack Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio “that their policies are wrong for our nation, they’re wrong for our city, and they’re wrong from the 11th District.”
     “Tonight is not just a victory for my campaign but a victory for America” and the “middle class,” Donovan said during a live televised acceptance speech late Tuesday.
     The district attorney spoke about a “cloud of distrust … that our leaders are out of touch with the everyday American,” and took a shot at “runaway spending” in Washington.
     He also vowed to improve transportation options on Staten Island, reform the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and to fight “Islamic extremism.”
     “It’s safe to say that I have my work cut out for me,” he said of his impending tenure in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
     Gentile said he fought for a “fresh start,” and to “hit the reset button,” but that his work is not done.
     “I fight on because I’m a Democrat. I fight on because I’m a patriot. And I fight on because I believe in our core principles,” he said.
     Donovan’s predecessor, Grimm, faced 20 counts of felony tax-evasion for concealing millions in revenues and pay-outs, and for hiring undocumented workers, at his Upper East Side restaurant between 2007 and 2010.
     He made headlines early in the investigation when a camera caught him threatening to throw a reporter off a balcony for asking about the accusations.
     The former FBI agent and Marine at first declared his innocence and accused Donovan of coming after him to steal his seat, but then turned on his heel, copped guilty to one count and resigned.
     U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen will sentence Grimm, 44, on July 8. He faces up to three years in prison.
     The National Advancement of Colored People, Legal Aid and the New York Post were among groups that fought Grimm’s newly elected successor for access to the transcripts of the grand jury that declined to indict Garner’s killer, police officer Daniel Pantaleo.
     They were unsuccessful.
     Coroners had ruled Garner’s July 2014 death a homicide.
     A 35-year-old named Demetrius Blackwell faces first-degree murder charges connected to the death this week of officer Moore.

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