NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Republican prosecutor appeared headed for victory on Tuesday in a special election to replace disgraced U.S. Representative Michael Grimm, a month before his sentencing for federal tax evasion.
With more than half of election districts counted, Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan led Democrat Vincent Gentile by 57 percent to 41 percent, according to the New York City Board of Elections.
Donovan drew national attention last year for presenting evidence to a grand jury that did not indict a white police officer in the choking death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, during an attempted arrest.
The district, which encompasses the borough of Staten Island and part of Brooklyn, is New York City's only Republican-leaning congressional district.
Grimm, a Republican elected to a third term while under federal indictment, resigned on Jan. 5. He pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges related to a Manhattan health food restaurant he partly owned, Healthalicious, and faces up to three years in prison at his June 8 sentencing.
Grimm, a former FBI agent once considered a rising political star, was caught on camera last year threatening a reporter questioning him about an investigation into his campaign funds.
He told NY1 television reporter Michael Scotto: "I'll break you in half. Like a boy."
(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg and Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Bill Trott and Peter Cooney)