Former Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) said he was sent to jail for labor law violations because then-District Attorney Loretta Lynch was told she would then be put at the "top" of President Obama's list for attorney general.
Grimm, who served time on several counts, including employing three deliverymen and a dishwasher "off-the-books," told FOX-5 that his conviction was a "sham" and politically motivated.
"Personally, it's very difficult. I've worked my entire life to build my reputation," he said, recalling his service in the Marine Corps and "deep undercover" for the FBI.
Grimm is now challenging incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.) for his old seat.
Grimm said he had a target on his back because he was a successful legislator and the only federally-elected Republican in New York City.
"Criminal charges? Why was I the first person in the entire history of New York City to be singled out?" he asked. He added that he was in the wrong, but that all other cases have been charged civilly.
He characterized himself as a rising political star who was praised by his constituents for his work in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and other legislative achievements.
Grimm said that just over a year before he was indicted, he was told that "a deal was made with Loretta Lynch that if she could take me down on anything... she would be put at the top of the list for attorney general."
After Grimm was sentenced, Lynch, who was the district attorney for New York State's eastern district, became the attorney general.
He said that his former constituents in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and Staten Island understand what he is claiming.
He said that Donovan, formerly the Richmond County D.A., is not supporting President Trump as well as he should be, given the political makeup of the island.
Grimm added that he has sought the counsel of Trump-supporting strategist Stephen Bannon for his bid against Donovan, saying that if he loses his primary bid, the seat will flip Democratic.