(Adds further reported threats in paragraphs 5 and 6; note
language in paragraph 6)
By Thomas Ferraro
WASHINGTON Jan 29 U.S. Representative Michael
Grimm, a former Marine who threatened to throw a television
reporter over a balcony after an interview in the Capitol,
apologized on Wednesday and said he had overreacted.
"I will break you in half," Grimm told Michael Scotto of
cable channel NY1 News in the confrontation late on Tuesday.
Scotto had asked the New York Republican about a federal
investigation into possible finance violations by his campaign.
The question came after Scotto interviewed Grimm on camera
about the State of the Union address that President Barack Obama
had just delivered to a joint session of Congress.
On Wednesday, Scotto wrote in a post on Twitter that Grimm
had phoned him to apologize and said he had overreacted. "I
accepted his apology," the reporter said.
Grimm walked away when asked on camera about the federal
probe, but then returned to confront the reporter. In a video
posted on the Web, he could be heard telling Scotto, "I'll break
you in half, like a boy."
Much of the recording is inaudible, but NY1 published a
transcript of the exchange in which it said Grimm also told
Scotto: "Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again
I'll throw you off this fucking balcony."
Grimm, of the New York City borough of Staten Island,
initially defended himself, issuing a statement late on Tuesday
saying Scotto had taken a "cheap shot" by asking a question
about a topic other than Obama's speech.
On Wednesday, Grimm told reporters that his outburst had
been wrong. Asked if he had been drinking, he laughed and said
"No," according to an interview aired on NBC News.
He told the Washington Post: "I'm a human being and
sometimes your emotions get the better of you and the bottom
line though is it shouldn't happen, you shouldn't lose your cool
and that's why I apologized."
Calls and emails to his office were not immediately
A fundraiser for Grimm, Diana Durand, was arrested this
month on charges she illegally funneled more than $10,000 to his
campaign. Federal investigators have been looking into the
lawmaker's fundraising for at least two years.
Grimm was elected to the House of Representatives in 2010 as
part of a wave of conservatives backed by the Tea Party
movement, which advocates small government and minimal taxes.
He grew up in New York, dropped out of college to join the
Marines, and served in the Gulf War, then joined the FBI as a
clerk while going to college at night. Grimm eventually became a
special agent investigating financial fraud and organized crime
before leaving the FBI to open a health food store.
(Additional reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by David Storey
and Mohammad Zargham)