Man accused of punching Giuliani faces lesser charges after video leaks


A grocery store worker accused of assaulting Rudolph W. Giuliani at a Staten Island supermarket on Sunday had the charges against him reduced after video footage emerged that appeared to show him patting Mr. Giuliani in the back with an open palm rather than hitting it. .

The worker, Daniel Gill, had been charged with second-degree assault immediately after the episode. Prosecutors later reduced the charges to third-degree assault, third-degree threat and second-degree harassment.

After a day in police custody, Mr. Gill, 39, was arrested Monday by Staten Island Criminal Court on the lesser charges. He was released by Judge Gerianne Abriano and ordered to return to court in August.

The encounter happened around 3:30 p.m. while Mr Giuliani was at the store on Veterans Road West in the Charleston borough campaigning on behalf of his son, Republican gubernatorial candidate Andrew Giuliani, officials say. .

In their initial account of what happened, police said Mr. Gill, a Staten Island resident who works at the store, slapped the elder Mr. Giuliani, a former New York mayor, on the back saying, “What’s up, asshole?”

The complaint accusing Mr Gill says he hit Mr Giuliani so hard that the blow caused ‘substantial pain in the back and left side of his body’ and caused Mr Giuliani to stumble forward.

But footage from the episode, which was obtained and published by the New York Post, appears to show Mr. Gill touching, rather than punching, Mr. Giuliani on the back near his left shoulder as he walks past him. The video, which contains no audio, also appears to show Mr Giuliani leaning slightly forward after Mr Gill touched his back.

It was unclear on Monday what prompted Mr Gill’s action, and he could not be reached for comment.

Mr Giuliani claimed in an online press conference on Monday that the incident was linked to the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade last week. (He said Sunday that Mr. Gill told him, “You’re going to kill women.”)

Mr Giuliani, 78, fumed at the press conference about the charges being dropped, saying: ‘What is this prosecutor doing letting him out of jail.’ He claimed the video footage was “misleading as it only shows the hand on my back”.

“I didn’t fall,” Giuliani said. “I could have. If I fall, who knows.

“This little thug is not going to hurt me,” he added. “The mafia threatened to kill me twice.”

The Legal Aid Society, which represents Mr Gill, said in a statement on Monday that the charges against him were “inconsistent with applicable law”.

“Our client merely patted Mr. Giuliani, who suffered no injuries remotely resembling physical injuries, without malice to simply get his attention, as the video footage clearly shows,” the statement continued.

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