Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm is offering an apology after he was caught on camera hurling verbal threats at a local TV reporter. Government Affairs Reporter Melissa Russo reports. (Published Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014)
A New York congressman erupted at a local TV reporter and threatened that he would "break you in half, like a boy" at the Capitol after the State of the Union address when he was asked about a federal investigation into his campaign finances.
Michael Scotto, a reporter for NY1, was interviewing Rep. Michael Grimm Tuesday night for his reaction to the president's speech, and at the end of the interview, he changed topics to ask him about the Justice Department investigation.
Grimm stalked off camera and Scotto finished his live shot.
Then, in an exchange that was captured on camera, Grimm walked back up to Scotto and said:
"You ever do that to me again I'll throw you off this f------- balcony," Grimm said.
"Why, why, I just wanted to ask you," Scotto said, adding that it was a "valid question."
Grimm continued his tirade and said, "No, no. You're not man enough, you're not man enough. I'll break you in half, like a boy."
Grimm later issued a statement saying he was "extremely annoyed" with Scotto and said he doubted he was the "first member of Congress to tell off a reporter, and I'm sure I won't be the last."
"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, because I did not have time to speak off-topic," Grimm said in the statement. "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."
On Wednesday, he told reporters outside his office, "I was wrong."
"It shouldn't have happened," he added, as a group of journalists followed him from his office into an elevator in Washington. "And I called Michael Scotto and he accepted my apology and we're going to go to lunch."
The Staten Island lawmaker then spent several minutes trying to shake the pack of reporters and cameras, telling them he was done answering questions. He explained that he was a passionate person who lashed out at Scotto after a long day of advocating for Sandy flood insurance money.
"Unfortunately when you're that type of person that has a lot of passion your emotions can get the better of you," Grimm said.
On Wednesday, Scotto tweeted
: "I accepted his apology."
Diana Durand, one of Grimm’s fundraisers, was arrested earlier this month by the FBI and is accused of using straw donors to funnel more than $10,000 into the Republican’s campaign coffers. Grimm has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
Published at 6:28 AM CST on Jan 29, 2014
Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth