NY Congressman Grimm Apologizes to Reporter for Threat

Wednesday, 29 Jan 2014 12:17 PM

By Melanie Bately and Newsmax Wires

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A reporter for a New York City cable news station said Wednesday that U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm called him to apologize for physically threatening him at the end of an interview about President Obama's State of the Union address.

"I accepted his apology and I think we're going to move on from here," said NY1 reporter Michael Scotto.

During the confrontation Tuesday in the Capitol, Grimm stalked out of an interview when Scotto tried to ask him about a Justice Department investigation into his campaign finances.

Then Grimm stormed back, leaned in close and said, "Let me be clear to you. If you ever do that to me again, I'll throw you off this [expletive] balcony."

When Scotto protested, saying he was asking "a valid question," Grimm glanced at the camera, leaned in again and said, "No. No. You're not man enough. You're not man enough. I'll break you in half. Like a boy."

Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Wednesday morning, Scotto said he was "taken aback" by the lawmaker's threat.

Story continues below video.

"He did seem angry. He seemed angrier than I have ever seen a politician talk to a reporter about a question that he or she didn't like," Scotto said on the morning show, according to Politico.

"I was taken aback. I'm used to people giving me pushback for questions, but I was not used to something like that. He basically came over to me, as you saw, and said if I ever do something like that again, he would throw me from the balcony."

Scotto was asking Grimm about the recent arrest of a friend for alleged straw donations to his congressional campaign, an issue he later said Grimm had so far refused to discuss with the media.

Scotto said that while he did not take the threat literally he was very surprised by Grimm's conduct, especially given the fact that he knew the interview would be aired.

"I don't believe the substance of the threat at all. I mean, I'm not taking it personally," Scotto also said in an interview with CNN's "New Day," according to Politico.

Story continues below video.

"I'm a New York City reporter, I'm used to pushback, but I had never encountered anything like that," he said, adding, "He knew that the camera was rolling. He knew that it was going back to NY1. So for him to come back and say that, it was surprising to me. It's kind of PR 101 not to say anything like that in front of an open mic."

For his part, Grimm, a former Marine and FBI agent, later defended his behavior in a statement saying it was out of line for the reporter to ask him a question "off-topic." The congressman called it a "disrespectful and cheap shot."

"I verbally took the reporter to task to hold him off, because I expect a certain level of professionalism and respect, especially when I go out of my way to do that reporter a favor. I doubt that I am the first member of Congress to tell off a reporter, and I am sure I won't be the last," Grimm said.

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