New York congressman threatens to throw NY1 reporter off balcony

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WASHINGTON — Rep. Michael Grimm, R-New York, defended his actions late Tuesday night after he physically threatened a NY1 News reporter at the Capitol.

“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,” Grimm said in a statement given to NY1, a CNN affiliate.

“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,” he added.

It started when Grimm, who’s under investigation by the Justice Department for illegal fundraising during his 2010 campaign, walked away from an on-camera interview about the State of the Union after the reporter, Michael Scotto, tried to ask him questions about the allegations.

“Alright, so Congressman Michael Grimm does not want to talk about the allegations concerning his campaign finances,” Scotto said. “We wanted to get him on camera on that, but he, as you saw, refused to talk about that. Back to you.”

With the camera still rolling, Grimm surges toward the reporter, who appears visibly surprised.

The second-term congressman, who’s also a former Marine and former FBI agent, spoke aggressively to Scotto for about 20 seconds.

NY1 broadcast the confrontation, though it bleeped out the obscenities.

“Let me be clear to you: If you ever do that to me again, I’ll throw you off this f***ing balcony,” Grimm said.

Scotto replied that he was just trying to ask “a valid question.”

“No, no. You’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half, like a boy,” Grimm replied.

First elected in 2010, Grimm represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn.

“I was extremely annoyed because I was doing NY1 a favor by rushing to do their interview first in lieu of several other requests,” Grimm said in the statement. “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.”

NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt also released a statement, calling the congressman’s behavior “unacceptable.”

“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,” reads the statement.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has long been targeting Grimm over the allegations, was quick to push out the confrontation in an e-mail blast to reporters.

Grimm has been known to get testy with reporters in the past, including on CNN’s “The Situation Room” last fall.

22 comments

  • jliles1205

    Apparently this reporter has never confronted a former Marine. I’m sure he probably needed a change of skivvies…

  • jliles1205

    Get real- only a pansy would think that was an actual threat. If every personality that made an empty threat was prosecuted, there would be no leftist loonies left to spew their impotent threats on CNN/MSNBC/ABC/CBS/HUFFPO etc.
    Whiny twits should get out of “journalism” and into food service or child care.

  • An hal

    I see it is business as usual. Just another example of unprofessional bully behavior from a congressman. We expect it from the press–After all we encourage it when we buy their rags.

  • thomas

    Well, this is no worse than former U.S. Representative Bob Etheridge (D-NC) physically assaulting two young conservative journalists outside the U.S. Capitol in 2009 who dared to ask him questions about the health care bill that was being debated; that incident was caught on video and was instrumental in the incumbent Democrat’s defeat in the next congressional election. Not sure what the big deal is especially when there is a big difference between verbal threats and actual physical assault, but then again we see time and again the double standard given in the media when these little incidents involve members of different parties or ideologies.

    • Mark A Mitchem

      In that case , every artist , mainly Rap . Should be charged as well . In 60 percent of their songs , if you can call them that , its a rant about murdering someone and on occasion they give an alias . There is a big difference in saying something in the heat of the moment and actually doing it . If every person that threatened someone was charged then we all would be . Everyone at some point has threatened someone , whether to their face or to someone else . Those that say they have not are lying .

      • Mr. Papageorgio

        It’s no different than Justin threatening people in these posts before. You have to consider the source. Justin has a history of talking out his A$$

  • dewey

    No CONGRESSMAN should ever step where he did with the media….his background notwithstanding….I’d file charges against him for uttering threats….@ jlilies, imagine if the reporter who came to your trailer park to interview you about any tornado, just hauled off and hit you in the mouth….would that be the kind of journalism you want?

    • jliles1205

      Hahaha… ad hominem attacks aside (I’ll be glad to explain what an ad hominem attack is if you need)..
      A real man would have shown the entire world that the left has enough testosterone to stand up to a bully. He had a chance, just like you negamonte, to actually grow a pair of testes, accept the gauntlet, and engaged Rep. Grimm in fisticuffs. He would most likely have gotten his a$$ handed to him, but oh! what a proud moment for lefties everywhere. Wandering minstrels would write odes to him for decades!
      As my dad used to say- “nice shiner- how’d the other guy look?”
      Trailer park- by extension you’re suggesting those who live in such domiciles are somehow less intelligent than you?
      Seriously- you people are such wimps. Put on your man pants and stand up to bullies.

  • Sandy McPherson Stewart

    Yes the congressman went to far, but the journalist was out of line as well. The journalist (and I use that term lightly in this case) hid behind his microphone and his camera to get the reaction he wanted to get the ratings and comments he knew would follow. I am tired of the whole “Tabloid” style of reporting.

  • karen

    Hey its just one more incident of the good ‘ole boys in office – they are above the law. He had his opportunity when he walked away — but he was to good for that so had to come back to make his point. The news reporter – well now he has news!

  • Mark A Mitchem

    I’m curious , intellectual . What my fascination of NASCAR has to do with anything The fact that you actually had to go to my Facebook page to find something out about me to try and joke about points out the type of person you are . You have proven my original point . Thank You !

  • Negamonte Firestone

    Wow, so pretty much everyone here thinks it’s A-OKAY to threaten to kill somebody? [I.E- Push him off the Balcony] Cool cool, next time your kid gets threatened, remember to tell them it’s their own fault and that “you bet they were pretty scared” and oh, REMEMBER TO LAUGH! Because the suffering, harassing, and abusing of others is CLEARLY FUNNY STUFF, MAN!

    You’re all really messed up people.

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