Grimm's Campaign Manager Bill Cortese “...leaves the team...”
Are the wheels coming off Grimm’s attempts to win re-election in the face of the well-documented 20-count federal indictment that hangs over him --- and nothing but more bad atmospherics all around him as time goes by
Early this week, this is how the NY Daily News’ Washington reporter Dan Friedman opened his report on the Federal Case against Michael Grimm: “Rep. Michael Grimm calls the case against him a ‘political witch-hunt.’ If that’s true, it looks like a well-documented one. *** Evidence against Grimm includes texts and emails between Grimm and cooperating witnesses, three years of Grimm’s financial disclosure reports in Congress and tax returns by a former Grimm business partner linked to the Gambino crime family. *** ... Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Capozzolo said the government is turning over more than 7,000 documents and 8,000 emails supporting the charges against Grimm....” (See “Grimm's Texts, Emails, Financial Disclosures Among Prosecutors' Evidence” by Dan Friedman, 5/20/14, NY Daily News/ Mouth of the Potomac [http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dc/grimm-texts-emails-financial-disclosures-prosecutor-evidence-blog-entry-1.1799239]).
Grimm’s coverage in the Daily News and elsewhere didn’t get any better as the week progressed.
A day after that, the Daily News reported that, for some unexplained reason, Congressman Michael Grimm maintained some aspects of his under-cover alter-ego long after he had been elected to and had been serving in Congress ( See “Rep. Michael Grimm kept cell phone registered to FBI alter ego 'Mikey Suits' after joining Congress...” By John Marzulli & Dan Friedman, 5/21/14, NY Daily News [http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/rep-grimm-fbi-alter-ego-joining-congress-article-1.1801]). According to the News report, “Federal documents show Grimm kept a cell phone registered to ‘Michael Garibaldi of Centurian Consulting’ as recently as 2012, when prosecutors sought court order to track his calls....” So far, neither Grimm, his spokesman or his lawyer have responded to questions about why he used the alias more than six years after leaving the FBI — and for at least two years after entering the U.S. House in January 2011. That story had enough legs to continue into the next day, and none of the coverage of the story indicated that anybody has articulated or even suggested a rational or legitimate reason for Grimm to have maintained the active cell phone account of his undercover persona, “Mikey Suits Garibaldi,” after ceasing his undercover assignment many, many years ago, leaving the FBI and beginning his career as a U.S. Congressman (See also “Representative Michael Grimm Just Couldn’t Let Mikey Suits Go” by Caroline Bankoff, 5/22/14, New York Magazine/ Intelligencer [http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/05/grimm-couldnt-let-mikey-suits-go.html]).
Then anybody who wanted to see what an evasive congressman looks like on TV didn’t need to go any further than the video of a “newscaster” named Charlie LeDuff trying to pin down Congressman Grimm for an interview, or at least a comment or two (See “LeDuff: Six degrees of Representative Michael Grimm” by Charlie LeDuff, 5/22/14, My Fox Detroit/ The Americans [http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/25587903/leduff-six-degrees-of-repre-michael-grimm] [with video link]). Whether or not this stuff goes viral, it certainly looks bad, bad, bad for Grimm’s campaign going forward.
And earlier today (Friday), there was one of the first indications that the wheels might be coming off of the Grimm campaign completely. The Staten Island Advance reported that “GOP Rep. Michael Grimm's campaign manager has left the team. *** Guy Molinari, a top advisor to Grimm, on Friday night said that Bill Cortese left the campaign "a few days ago...." (See “GOP Rep. Michael Grimm loses campaign manager” by Tom Wrobleski, 5/23/14, SI Advance/ silive.com [http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2014/05/gop_rep_michael_grimm_loses_ca.html#incart_m-rpt-1]). In response to this news, Guy Molinari is reported to have said that the departure of Cortese after a "couple of months" on the team was not a sign of a campaign in trouble.
On top of all that, the same Wrobleski article in the Advance reported that “The news [about the departure of Grimm’s campaign manager] came the same day as an announcement that the House Ethics Committee had formed an investigative subcommittee to probe Grimm the wake of his 20-count indictment on federal tax evasion and other charges. Friday evening the TV news reported that the U.S. Justice Department asked the Congress to hold any internal investigation of Congressman Grimm in abeyance until after the Justice Department’s prosecution of the Brooklyn and Staten Island Congressman has been completed; and the congressional leadership readily announced that it will hold it up pending completion of the prosecution.
Even if the wheels haven’t come off the Grimm campaign completely yet, at this moment they are very wobbly, indeed.