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Congressman victim of 8th-grade vandal, not 'attack on democracy'

September 25, 2012|By Morgan Little
  • Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) holds a 10-point lead over Democratic challenger Mark Murphy.
Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) holds a 10-point lead over Democratic challenger… (Jacquelyn Martin / Associated…)

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) has gone from being the self-described victim of a politically motivated attack to the victim of grade-school vandalism. Grimm, whose staff discovered Sunday that chunks of concrete had been thrown through the windows of his Staten Island campaign office, initially said that the vandalism was a coverup for an “attack on democracy and the political process.”

His campaign first reported that computer systems full of “confidential” data pertaining to his reelection efforts had been completely wiped out after Linux had been installed onto the hard drives. But an anonymous law enforcement official told the New York Times Monday that there had been no discovered evidence of intrusion, let alone a hacker with a preference for Linux.

And more recently, according an AP report citing NYPD spokesman Paul Browne, an eighth-grader has admitted to throwing the concrete through Grimm’s window with a friend, confessing the crime to a school counselor Tuesday.

Grimm released a statement after the student’s confession, saying he was “very relieved to know this is not politically motivated,” and defending his earlier conclusion given the facts at the time.

“At the time, when he 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,” he said.

As for the computers, Grimm said that while the campaign has yet to hear the NYPD’s conclusion, it was “possible that a volunteer could have inadvertently compromised the computer and failed to report it.”

Grimm, along with running for reelection, is also under federal investigation for allegedly accepting illegal campaign donations in 2010, a charge that he has denied.

It remains to be seen whether the strange series of events will have any impact on Grimm’s reelection chances, as the incumbent currently holds a 10-point lead over Democratic challenger Mark Murphy, according to a poll conducted Sept. 19-23 by Sienna College.

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morgan.little@latimes.com

Twitter: @mlittledc

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