New York Congressman Michael Grimm threatened to throw a reporter off the balcony during an interview in the Capitol rotunda after Tuesday night's State of the Union address, telling him "I'll break you in half."
The aggressive comments were directed at NY1's Michael Scotto who tried to question Grimm, a Republican, about illegal campaign contributions he allegedly received in 2010.
"Congressman Michael Grimm does not want to talk about some of the allegations concerning his campaign finances. We wanted to get him on camera on that but he refused to talk about that," Scotto said after Grimm abruptly ended the interview.
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Grimm then steps back into the frame and mutters something to Scotto, which the reporter later revealed was a threat.
"Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f***ing balcony," Grimm reportedly said. "No, no, you're not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy."
Bob Hardt, NY1's political director, took to Twitter to vent about the incident in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
"It is extremely disturbing when anyone threatens one of our reporters — let alone a U.S. Congressman," he wrote. "The NY1 family is certainly alarmed and disappointed by the behavior of Representative Grimm and demands a full apology from him. This behavior is unacceptable."
Grimm issued a statement Wednesday and seemingly defended his reported threat.
"I was extremely annoyed because I was doing NY1 a favor by rushing to do their interview first in lieu of several other requests," the congressman said.
"The reporter knew that I was in a hurry and was only there to comment on the State of the Union but insisted on taking a disrespectful and cheap shot at the end of the interview . . . I verbally took the reporter to task and told 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."
Later Wednesday, Scotto tweeted that Grimm had called him to apologize.
Grimm, a former Marine and FBI undercover agent, has not been officially accused of any wrongdoing regarding his campaign finances, but one of his ex-fundraisers was arrested earlier this month for election fraud and lying to federal agents, according to The New York Times.
"The allegation was that donors to his campaign also donated to another candidate, and donors to that second candidate simultaneously gave to Grimm," The Atlantic Wire reported
. "The effect is that donors spend twice the contribution limit and Grimm gets twice as much money, half of it from people who wouldn't otherwise donate."
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