STATEN ISLAND — Rep. Michael Grimm announced he would step down from his post on the House Financial Services Committee to not let his recent legal troubles distract their agenda, he announced late Monday night.
Grimm, who was indicted on fraud charges after feds said he hid more than $1 million in profits from his Upper East Side restaurant, called the resignation temporary and said he would come back after "his name is cleared in a court of law," according to a statement.
"It is unfortunate that trumped-up charges filed against me have necessitated this action, but this was an appropriate decision that ensures the committee's legislative agenda is not distracted," Grimm said in a statement.
“I look forward to resuming my work on the Committee once a jury of my peers has weighed the evidence and I am fully exonerated."
Grimm pleaded not guilty to a 20 count indictment for underreporting profits on federal tax returns in connection to his Upper East Side restaurant Healthalicious from June 2007 to August 2010, prosecutors said.
During that time, he also hired undocumented workers to staff his restaurant, before stepping down from his role as head of the restaurant and coaching his replacements on how to continue the scam, prosecutors said.
The charges brought against Grimm, who made headlines earlier this year for threatening to throw a reporter off a balcony, were the culmination of a two-year investigation into his 2010 campaign finances, which took a turn when investigators found he was cooking the books at his restaurant, prosecutors said.
Grimm was released on a $400,000 bond, which he put up his Staten Island house for, after his arraignment at Brooklyn federal court on Monday. Speaking to reporters afterwards, Grimm vowed not to step down from his post because of the charges, which he called a "political witch hunt."
Time and time again I have shown that I don't abandon my post. I didn't abandon my post when I was fired on in combat... I'm not abandoning my post now," Grimm said on Monday.
"We're going to fight tooth and nail until I am fully exonerated. I will not abandon my post or the wonderful people who entrusted me to represent them. I have their backs and I know that they have mine."