The House Ethics Committee has put its investigation of indicted Rep. Michael Grimm on hold so the Justice Department can proceed with its own probe of the lawmaker, the committee said Friday.
In a written statement, the ethics panel said its members voted unanimously to accept a Justice Department request to defer their investigation. The 10-member committee, divided evenly between Republicans and Democrats, routinely suspends its inquiries when asked to allow a federal investigation to proceed.
Grimm, R-N.Y., was indicted on 20 counts last month for allegedly evading taxes by hiding more than $1 million in sales and wages while running a small Manhattan restaurant. The charges arose from a continuing investigation of his campaign fundraising.
The Staten Island lawmaker pleaded not guilty after surrendering to FBI agents and was released on $400,000 bond. The former FBI agent and ex-Marine says he is the target of a political witch hunt aimed at driving him from Congress.
This week, prosecutors told a federal judge in Brooklyn that their evidence against Grimm included thousands of emails.
The ethics committee said Friday that on May 8, it had appointed a four-member subcommittee to investigate the federal charges against Grimm. Under House rules, the panel had 30 days from Grimm's April 28 indictment to either name a subcommittee to investigate the charges or explain to the House why it hadn't.
Grimm, 44, has remained in Congress but stepped down from the House Financial Services Committee, saying he will return when his legal problems are over. He is running for re-election.
Grimm garnered attention in January after he was caught on camera threatening to break a television reporter in half and throw him off a balcony after the reporter asked him about an FBI investigation into his campaign finances.