Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 16, 2014

Michael Grimm Won’t Face Trial Until After Midterms

Embattled Rep. Michael G. Grimm, the New York Republican facing a litany of federal indictments on tax evasion charges, will not face a jury until after the November midterms a federal judge said Tuesday — welcome news for one of this cycle’s most endangered incumbents.

Grimm’s trial will begin on Dec. 1, according to ABC New York, a month after voters select their congressman from New York’s Staten Island-based 11th District.

Grimm will defend himself against 20 counts of alleged tax evasion, mail fraud, wire fraud, hiring undocumented immigrants and perjury stemming from the health food store he owned before his election to the House in 2010. He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

Democrats had hoped Grimm’s trial would begin in October, leading to weeks of negative press in the run up to the midterms.

But Grimm’s legal troubles still imperil his re-election hopes.

He began the cycle as one of the most vulnerable members, representing a district President Barack Obama carried in 2012 by a 4-point margin. Democrats recruited former New York City Council Member Domenic M. Recchia Jr., whom they bill as one of their best candidates of the cycle.

The indictment has also dried up Grimm’s cash flow and war chest, giving him little money to communicate with voters in the district, where television time comes at a premium.

And the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will spare no expense to blanket the district with ads reminding voters of Grimm’s legal woes. The committee has so far reserved $950,000 on New York City cable, and has already aired two negative spots rehashing the headlines of Grimm’s April indictment.

But Grimm could be aided by an election cycle where tail winds favor the GOP. And Recchia’s Brooklyn residency could be cause for concern for the Staten Island-based voters in the district.

New York’s 11th District is rated a Leans Democratic contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

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