House ethics panel defers probe of NY lawmaker

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Associated Press

Posted on May 23, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Updated Friday, May 23 at 12:37 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Ethics Committee has put its investigation of indicted Rep. Michael Grimm on hold so the Justice Department can proceed with its own probe of the lawmaker, the committee said Friday.

In a written statement, the ethics panel said its members voted unanimously to accept a Justice Department request to defer their investigation. The 10-member committee, divided evenly between Republicans and Democrats, routinely suspends its inquiries when asked so that a federal investigation can proceed.

Grimm, R-N.Y., was indicted on 20 counts last month for allegedly evading taxes by hiding more than $1 million in sales and wages while running a small Manhattan restaurant. The charges arose from a continuing investigation of his campaign fundraising.

The Staten Island lawmaker pleaded not guilty after surrendering to FBI agents and was released on $400,000 bond. He says he is the target of a political witch hunt aimed at driving him out of Congress.

This week, prosecutors told a federal judge in Brooklyn that their evidence against Grimm included thousands of emails.

The ethics committee said that on May 8, it had appointed a four-member subcommittee to investigate the charges lodged against Grimm in federal court.

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