Bay Ridge’s Former Congressmember Sentenced to Jail

Michael Grimm at federal court in Brooklyn
Michael Grimm outside federal court in Downtown Brooklyn this morning. Via the Staten Island Advance

Former congressmember Michael Grimm was sentenced to eight months in jail this morning, the New York Times has reported. He pleaded guilty in December to one count of felony tax fraud, after he’d been indicted on 20 counts relating to his running a Manhattan health-food restaurant before he became the congressional representative of Staten Island and a piece of southwestern Brooklyn in 2010. He resigned in December, just after being reelected; in a special election in May, Republican Dan Donovan won the seat; he’s the former district attorney of Staten Island best known for failing to get an indictment against any of the policemen who manslaughtered Eric Garner.

Prosecutors had asked for 24-30 months in jail, while the defense wanted no jail time. “Your moral compass, Mr. Grimm, needs some reorientation,” the judge said this morning at the sentencing. Grimm, a former Marine and FBI agent with a bad temper, once again played the Marines card when telling the judge he cheated the system because he was afraid of failing. “A Marine is taught not to fail,” he said.

According to court documents revealed yesterday by the New York Times, Grimm’s lawyers filed many memos with the court asking for leniency because of Grimm’s troubled childhood.

Describing Gerard Grimm as “a very difficult man that often drank too much,” his aunt, Grace D’Arienzo, wrote that “Michael was really the only one in his family that was able to confront his father, which resulted in a heavy burden on him at such a young age.” […] His friend Rich Bonura wrote in a submission to the court that “our friendship was born out of a common link of alcoholic fathers.”

“We both from a very young age worried as the night dragged on what kind of conditions our fathers would come home in, and what kind of physical or verbal assault was to follow,” Mr. Bonura wrote. “Michael as the protector and mentor helped me to understand we weren’t condemned to live our fathers’ lives.”

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