U.S. Congressman Tied to Rabbi Pinto Threatens Reporter, Apologizes

Staten Island congressman Michael Grimm is embroiled in U.S. campaign finance investigation and Israeli corruption probe, both centering on ties to celebrity rabbi.

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A Staten Island congressman alleged to have received illegal political donations from Israeli rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto apologized Wednesday for threatening to attack a reporter who asked about the subject.

Congressman and former FBI agent Michael Grimm threatened to physically harm NY1 reporter Michael Scotto after Scotto concluded their interview with a question on his campaign finances.

"Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I'll throw you off this [expletive] balcony,” Grimm said according to the NY1 transcript. “No, no, you're not man enough, you're not man enough. I'll break you in half. Like a boy.

Scotto said he wasn’t going to take any further action against Grimm. I think the tape speaks for itself, so I’m just going to leave it the way it is,” Scotto said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Grimm, the only Republican representing New York City in the House of Representatives, is the middle of a federal investigation into his campaign finances and an Israel Police corruption investigation both involving Pinto. The congressman is a strong supporter of Israel and a co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus.

The congressman is alleged to have raised as much as half a million dollars from Israeli-American businessmen affiliated with Rabbi Pinto for his 2010 election campaign. This month the FBI arrested Grimm’s former girlfriend Diana Durand on charges of funneling thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions to Grimm's campaign.

Pinto reportedly asked Grimm for help when the rabbi was allegedly blackmailed by people claiming they would reveal his family's medical information. Grimm was later suspected by the FBI of taking part in the blackmail itself and the rabbi testified against him.

Michael GrimmCredit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters
Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef PintoCredit: Ilan Assayag