Federal prosecutors unsealed a 20-count indictment against Grimm on Monday. The charges stem from Grimm's time running a New York City restaurant called Healthalicious. The government says Grimm concealed over a million dollars in gross receipts, along with hundreds of thousands of dollars of employees' wages. The charges against Grimm include wire and mail fraud, helping prepare false tax returns, perjury, and -- as Rivera pointed out Tuesday -- hiring undocumented workers. Rivera said that charge in particular suggested the prosecution of the Staten Island congressman was a "pathetic, politically motivated witch hunt."
“For Michael Grimm to be indicted for hiring undocumented immigrants in New York City – the sanctuary city of sanctuary cities – is a pathetic, politically motivated witch hunt," Rivera said. "Congressman Michael Grimm is absolutely right: This is appalling. This is insulting. I mean, if you want to indict him for some hanky panky, then do it. Find some evidence. But you can’t indict a person who stands in exactly the same place as 5,000 other restaurant owners.”
Rivera also questioned the timing of the charges, according to The Observer.
“Not only did they indict him for a lame charge, but they indicted him after the date when he could drop out and the Republicans could replace him with somebody," Rivera said. "So you tell me this isn’t political? Give me a break! And Michael Grimm is a great guy. I know him personally. We have hung out together. He’s one of the few people I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with in the last election. A hero!”