(CBSNews.com) - A congressman took great exception Tuesday night to being
questioned by a New York cable news reporter about allegations surrounding his
campaign finances and was heard on-camera threatening to throw the reporter off
a balcony if the reporter brought up the topic again.
Following President Obama's State of the Union address, Rep. Michael
Grimm, a Republican from the New York City borough of Staten Island, was asked
for his thoughts by New York 1's Michael Scotto.
According to NY1, Grimm called the address
After Grimm finished answering what he thought was the last
question of the interview, which was conducted on a balcony of the U.S. Capitol
building, Scotto added, "And just finally before we let you go, since we
have you here: We haven't had a chance to kind of talk about some of
"I'm not speaking about anything that's
off-topic," Grimm interrupted. "This is only about the president's
speech tonight. Thank you."
He then walked away, and Scotto said, "So 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, as you saw, refused to talk about that. Back to
With the camera still rolling, Scotto suddenly looks up,
"What?" Scotto asks.
And Grimm, again on-camera, though
off-mike, can be heard speaking to Scotto in a low voice.
Grimm says, "Let me be clear to
you, you ever do that to me again I'll throw you off this f-----g
"Why?" Scotto says. "I just
wanted to ask you..."
In muffled cross-talk, Grimm is heard
again saying, "If you ever do that to me again..."
"Why? Why?" Scotto asks.
"It's a valid question."
After more cross-talk, Grimm says,
"No, no, you're not man enough, you're not man enough. I'll break you in
half. Like a boy."
Grimm then walks away.
NY1 says Grimm
released a statement following the incident, saying, "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 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. 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."
NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt also
released a statement, saying, "It is extremely disturbing when anyone
threatens one of our reporters - let alone a U.S. Congressman. 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."
According to NY1, "The FBI
earlier this month charged 47-year-old Diana Durand with using straw donors to
exceed the maximum allowable contribution to Grimm's campaign committee. After
contributing $4,800, the maximum amount allowed under federal law, Durand
allegedly offered to reimburse four friends if they contributed to the
campaign. Grimm is not charged with any wrongdoing in connection with the
Update: On Wednesday morning, Scotto tweeted that Grimm "called to apologize. He said he 'overreacted.' I accepted his apology."
Grimm later issued a statement
saying, "I was wrong. I shouldn't have allowed my emotions to get the
better of me and lose my cool. I have apologized to Michael Scotto,
which he graciously accepted, and will be scheduling a lunch soon."
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