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Rep. Michael Grimm Pleads Not Guilty To Fraud Charges

This post was updated at 1:35 p.m ET

Rep. Michael Grimm of New York, who has been under investigation for fraud and campaign finance irregularities, turned himself in to federal agents early Monday. The Staten Island Republican and former FBI agent is facing a 20-count federal indictment, including charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and tax fraud.

He pleaded not guilty and was released on $400,000 bail.

From The Washington Post:
"He turned himself in to the FBI at an undisclosed location Monday morning and was taken to Lower Manhattan for processing. The charges stem from his ownership of a Manhattan health-food restaurant that has ties to an Israeli fundraiser who served as a liaison between Grimm and a mystic, celebrity rabbi whose followers donated more than $500,000 to Grimm's campaign in 2010."

The Israeli fundraiser in the Post's story is Ofer Biton, who admitted to visa fraud in a federal plea deal last summer.

"Grimm has been under federal investigation for more than two years on allegations that he systematically raised illegal contributions" for his first run for Congress in 2010, according to NPR's Peter Overby.

As we reported over the weekend, Grimm's attorney, William McGinley, insists his client is innocent, and calls the U.S. attorney's pursuit of Grimm a vendetta that has included "malicious leaks, violations of grand jury secrecy, and strong-arm tactics."

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.