A worker at a grocery store on Staten Island who was accused of assaulting Rudolph W. Giuliani at a supermarket on Sunday had the charges against him reduced after it was discovered that video footage appeared to show the worker patting Mr. Giuliani on the back with an open hand instead of striking him. This led to the charges being dropped against the worker.
In the immediate aftermath of the event, the employee, Daniel Gill, had been charged with criminal assault in the second degree immediately after the incident. After further investigation, the state’s attorney decided to lower the charges to those of third-degree assault, a misdemeanour, as well as third-degree threatening and second-degree harassing.
On Monday, Mr. Gill, who is 39 years old, appeared in Staten Island Criminal Court to be charged on the allegations that are considered to be less serious. Judge Gerianne Abriano decided to release him from custody and ordered him to report back to court in August.
According to officials, the incident took place at approximately 3:30 p.m. while Mr. Giuliani was at the store, which is located on Veterans Road West in the Charleston neighbourhood. Mr. Giuliani was there to campaign on behalf of his son, Andrew Giuliani, who is running for governor as a Republican candidate.
Initially, the police said that Mr. Gill, a native of Staten Island who works at the shop, had slapped the senior Mr. Giuliani on the back while asking, “What’s up, scumbag?” The elder Mr. Giuliani was a former governor of New York City.
According to the complaint filed against Mr. Gill, he struck Mr. Giuliani with such force that the strike caused Mr. Giuliani “severe discomfort to the back and left side of his body” and caused him to stagger forward.
But film of the event, which was acquired by The New York Post and released on their website, seems to indicate that Mr. Gill touched Mr. Giuliani on his back near his left shoulder while passing by him rather than punching him. The video, which is silent, also seems to show Mr. Giuliani bending forward slightly after Mr. Gill stroked his back. However, the footage does not include any audio.
On Monday, it remained unclear as to what triggered Mr. Gill’s conduct, and attempts to contact him for comment were unsuccessful.
During a press conference held online on Monday, Mr. Giuliani said that the event was related to the overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court the previous week. (On Sunday, he had said that Mr. Gill had told him, “You’re going to murder women.”)
During the news conference in which the reduced charges were discussed, Mr. Giuliani, who is 78 years old, expressed his anger by stating, “What the hell is this D.A. doing letting him out of jail?” He said that the camera footage was misleading since all that it showed was someone’s hand resting on his back.
He continued by saying, “This little punk is not going to damage me.” “The Mafia has made two separate death threats against me.”
The Legal Aid Society, which represents Mr. Gill, issued a statement on Monday claiming that the allegations brought against him “do not comport with the law as it is now constituted.”
The next part of the statement said that “our client only touched Mr. Giuliani, who incurred nothing close approximating bodily harm, without intent in order to simply call his attention as the video evidence plainly demonstrated.”