Earlier today, the Associated Press reported an eighth grader confessed to an incident of vandalism where windows were smashed at the campaign headquarters of Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm. Over the weekend, when the vandalism first occurred, Mr. Grimm claimed it was a “politically-motivated” attack that also included hard drives being erased on computers in his office. He further condemned the attack as “an assault on democracy.” After the news broke that a child admitted he and a friend committed the crime, Mr. Grimm issued a calmer statement, declaring he was “very relieved to know this is not politically motivated” and said he assumed the broken windows were connected to a “consistent pattern” of his lawn signs being damaged and the computer problems at his office. He also slammed the media for what he described as “shameless spin” in the reporting on the situation.
“It is unfortunate that these young kids would commit such an act of vandalism, yet we are very relieved to know this is not politically motivated. At the time, when we saw three large window panes broken, following a consistent pattern of lawn sign thefts and after several locations with Grimm signs and posters were barraged with eggs, it was not hard to come to any other conclusion,” Mr. Grimm said. “In addition to that, the gentleman in charge of operating the main computer system, found the computer not functioning and a new operating system installed. Again, under the circumstances, it could very easily lead one to believe that this was all connected, which is why we contacted the NYPD.”
Mr. Grimm added he is waiting to hear from the NYPD about what happened to his computer system and admitted the erasure of the hard drives could have been caused by one of his campaign volunteers.
“While we still do not know what happened to the computers, and are waiting for the NYPD computer crimes unit to determine the nature of the tampering, it is possible that a volunteer could have inadvertently compromised the computer and failed to report it,” he said.
Despite acknowledging that he may have jumped to conclusions, Mr. Grimm’s statement also blamed the “liberal media” for mounting an “ongoing smear campaign” against him.
“What is most troubling about this series of events is the shameless media spin and speculation fueled by unscrupulous sources,” said Mr. Grimm. “This is no more than another blatant attempt by the liberal media to generate more bogus allegations against me and continue their ongoing smear campaign.”
The congressman has received substantial negative press in recent months in conjunction with an FBI probe into his 2010 fundraising operation. The New York Times also published a report on the vandalism incident yesterday that cast doubt on Mr. Grimm’s initial claims about the case by citing an unnamed “law enforcement official” who “said on Monday night that police experts had examined the campaign’s computer systems and concluded that nothing had been erased or tampered with.” Democratic insiders expressed skepticism about Mr. Grimm’s claims surrounding the attack almost immediately after it occurred.
Mr. Grimm concluded his statement by expressing his wish that the courts go easy on the children who said they vandalized his office and saying he hoped this would prove to be a “teachable moment.”
“I would like to thank the NYPD for their rapid response and professionalism throughout the investigation. I also hope that the judge will take leniency with these children on account of their youth, and use this as a teachable moment on the importance of serving our community instead of vandalizing it,” Mr. Grimm said. “I invite the teenagers to see firsthand the importance of public service and the political process by interning in my official office or volunteering in another capacity within our community.”