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Grimm: 'No excuse' for threatening reporter

NBC News' Kelly O'Donnell caught up with Rep. Michael Grimm on Wednesday after he unleashed an expletive laced rant at a reporter following the President's State of the Union address.

New York congressman Michael Grimm apologized Wednesday for physically threatening a reporter at the Capitol, saying there’s “no excuse” for his behavior and that the incident “shouldn’t have happened.”

“I'm a human being and sometimes your emotions get the better of you,” he told NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell. “And the bottom line though is it shouldn't happen, you shouldn't lose your cool, and that's why I apologized.  When you're wrong you're wrong, you have to admit it, and it shouldn't have happened.”

Watch NBC News' "tenacious reporter" Kelly O'Donnell grill Rep. Michael Grimm on the threat he issued to a local New York City reporter.

In an interview after the State of the Union address Tuesday night, Grimm refused to answer questions from NY1 reporter Michael Scotto about allegations involving his campaign finances. While the camera was still rolling, but after Scotto signed off, Grimm approached him and threatened to “throw you off this f-----g balcony.” He also told Scotto “I’ll break you in half.”

Scotto said on NBC's Today Show that Grimm has called him to apologize. He does not plan to take any legal action against Grimm, he added. 

"I’m going to leave it as is. I think the tape speaks for itself, so I’m just going to leave it the way it is," Scotto said. 

On Wednesday, Grimm attributed his outburst to a long day and the congressional fight over flood insurance, which he says disproportionately affects constituents still grappling with Superstorm Sandy.

“Combination of a long day, fighting for flood insurance all day and then the fact that I ran to the Cannon rotunda, I was out of breath,” he told NBC.

"I'm sure my Italian mother is going to say 'you weren't raised that way' and she's right," he told reporters later. 

Grimm, a former Marine combat veteran and onetime FBI undercover agent, unseated a Democrat in 2010 in his Staten Island district.

NY1 reporter Michael Scotto talks to Tamron Hall about comments made to him Tuesday night by Republican Staten Island Representative Michael Grimm during an interview, in which he threatened to throw the reporter off a balcony. Grimm issued a statement saying Scotto took a "disrespectful and cheap shot."

But despite early backing from some of the party’s biggest names – like Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin – Grimm has faced ethics accusations during his tenure in the House, including alleged breaking of fundraising rules by using straw donors to avoid donation limits.

The New York Times has also reported extensively on Grimm moneyman Ofer Biton, who pled guilty to fabricating a document while applying for a visa. Another Grimm fundraiser, Texan Diana Durand, has been charged with funneling illegal donations to his campaign. And he's also faced questions about business ties to an associate later indicted on fraud charges.

A New Yorker story published in 2011 described an altercation involving Grimm in a night-club in 1999. A former NYPD officer told the magazine that, after Grimm had a confrontation with another patron, he  brandished a gun and later returned with other law enforcement officers, declared that the "FBI is in control," and instructed "all the white people" to leave the club.  

Grimm has said that the account is a "fabrication." 

He has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

Last November, the House ethics committee said it would defer its investigation into Grimm at the request of the Department of Justice. 

Grimm's laywer, William McGinley of Washington based firm Patton Boggs, reiterated in a statement that Grimm denies doing anything wrong. 

"Congressman Grimm denies any wrongdoing and we look forward to an early and favorable resolution of the investigation," he said. 

NBC's Kelly O'Donnell contributed to this report. 

 

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