,A Media lobbyist and RE/MAX real estate agent was charged with destruction of evidence in a federal court Tuesday as part of an ongoing FBI probe of former U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon.
Now, she is apparently cooperating in the long-running federal corruption probe into Weldon's ties to lobbyists.
According to Tuesday's filing, two FBI agents had served Cecilia "CeCe" Grimes, of the lobbying firm Grimes and Young Inc., with two grand-jury subpoenas following an Oct. 16, 2006, interview.
The subpoenas called for documents dating back to January 2002 relevant to Grimes' travel and information relevant to her firm's clients, including Weldon, a Thornbury Republican, who is identified in the filing only as "Representative A."
Six days later, according to the filing, Grimes attempted to throw away several documents at her house including Amtrak receipts, an American Airlines boarding pass and invitations to Weldon events.
FBI agents "surreptitiously" retrieved the documents from trash cans next to Grimes' home, according to the filing. While Grimes did produce certain documents responsive to the subpoenas, the filing states, the retrieved documents or copies thereof were not among them.
Grimes even went so far as to throw her Blackberry device in a trashcan near an Arby's restaurant "for the purpose of keeping the FBI from retrieving certain emails that would be of interest to the FBI," according to the filing.
The filing was a federal "information," not an indictment. Federal authorities routinely issue "informations" when the subject is cooperating with investigators.
Grimes, a Neumann College graduate and 2004 inductee to the Aston Sports Hall of Fame, is "extremely remorseful for any mistake she has made in reference to this in
vestigation," according to a statement from her attorney's law firm.
"Any suggestion that Ms. Grimes engaged in any inappropriate, illegal or improper conduct with regard to her role as a lobbyist is incorrect and unfounded," the statement reads.
The statement indicates Grimes will not be taking further questions on the charge "as she closes this unfortunate chapter and moves forward with the rest of her life."
A plea agreement hearing has been scheduled for July 25 in U.S. District Court in Washington.
Calls to Weldon's attorney and an FBI spokeswoman were not returned Tuesday.
Earlier this year, Weldon moved the last $80,000 in his campaign fund to a legal defense fund.
According to the Grimes and Young Web site, the firm "provides government relations and business development consulting services," helping clients "establish solid working relationships with decision-makers through extensive contacts at both the federal and state level.
"Our knowledge of how government works and the ability to reach decision-makers ensures that our clients' interests are conveyed," the site boasts.
Grimes' partner in the business is Cynthia Young, daughter-in-law of U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., and wife of Robert Young, who worked as a paid staff aide for four months on Weldon's 2004 reelection campaign.
Grimes was also named in a September 2006 Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) publication, "Beyond DeLay: The 20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress (and Five to Watch)."
The CREW report described how Grimes, a longtime Weldon family friend, as well as Weldon family members and political allies, had financially benefited from companies Weldon supported.
Then-Weldon spokesman and current Springfield Republican Party leader Michael Puppio said there was "nothing illegal or improper about any of the actions mentioned" in the CREW report, which he said was published by a "front group for liberal Democrats who have a partisan ax to grind against Republicans."
Weldon has always denied any wrongdoing.
About one month later, on Oct. 16, 2006, FBI agents raided six locations, including the homes of Weldon's daughter, Karen, and former Springfield Republican Party leader Charles Sexton, as well as an office the two shared as partners in the company Solutions North America.
The raid was part of an investigation to determine if Weldon steered nearly $1 million in foreign lobbying contracts to Solutions North America, and came just weeks before the 2006 general election, all but ensuring victory for current U.S. Rep. Joseph Sestak, D-7, of Edgmont.
According to Tuesday's filing, the FBI had already been investigating "certain activities by and relating to (Weldon)" well prior to October 2006.
"Part of that investigation focused on whether (Weldon) agreed to support appropriations requests made by (Grimes' firm)_as a quid pro quo for the payment of fees to (Grimes' firm) by its clients," according to the filing.
In December, Weldon's chief of staff, Russell James Caso Jr., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud by intentionally failing to disclose $17,500 his wife had received from an unnamed group that was seeking his help to obtain federal funding.
Caso faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Records show his sentencing has been deferred indefinitely while he cooperates with federal investigators.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.