A Staten Island congressman physically threatened NY1 Washington Bureau reporter Michael Scotto at the conclusion of an interview following the State of the Union address Tuesday. Scotto gave the following first-person account of his confrontation with Rep. Michael Grimm.
"Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I'll throw you off this f---ing balcony."
That's the reaction from Rep. Michael Grimm after I try to ask him a question about the ongoing campaign finance investigation surrounding his 2010 campaign.
My question comes at the end of an interview about President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address.
"And just finally before we let you go, we haven't had a chance to talk about some of the..." Scotto began before Grimm cut him off.
"I'm not speaking to you off-topic, this is only about the president," said Grimm, before walking off camera.
"So Congressman Michael Grimm does not want to talk about some of the allegations concerning his campaign finances," Scotto said before tossing back to the station.
As you can see, Grimm walks away and then returns, warning me of the consequences of asking off-topic questions.
Grimm: "Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I'll throw you off this f-----g balcony."
Scotto: "Why? I just wanted to ask you..."
Grimm: "If you ever do that to me again..."
Scotto: "Why? Why? It’s a valid question."
Grimm: "No, no, you're not man enough, you're not man enough. I'll break you in half. Like a boy."
In a statement, Grimm said, “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 issued a statement.
“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.”
More than two weeks ago, a friend of Grimm was arrested for campaign finance violations. Grimm has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but we wanted to get him on camera and on the record about the investigation. And that's when this story went in an unexpected direction.