Oct 21, 5:52 PM EDT

Republican New York congressman's tax evasion trial put off until next year

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NEW YORK (AP) -- A New York congressman's tax evasion trial has been put off until next year.

U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen told lawyers at a hearing Tuesday jury selection for Michael Grimm's trial will begin Feb. 2, not Dec. 1. She set the new trial date after rejecting defense claims the prosecution is politically motivated.

The Republican congressman from Staten Island has pleaded not guilty to charges he evaded taxes by hiding more than $1 million in sales and wages while running a small Manhattan restaurant.

Grimm is fighting the charges as he runs for re-election. He has called the case a witch hunt aimed at driving him from office.

He left court without speaking to reporters.

A Houston woman romantically linked to him pleaded guilty to campaign finance charges last month.

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