The supermarket worker accused of assaulting Rudy Giuliani "merely patted" the former New York City mayor, the man's lawyers said.
Giuliani accused Daniel Gill, 39, of slapping him on the back at a ShopRite in Staten Island, New York, on Sunday.
The Legal Aid Society, which is representing Gill, alleged Giuliani had overblown the incident.
The supermarket worker accused of assaulting Rudy Giuliani "merely patted" the former New York City mayor, the man's lawyers said on Monday as they said the charges against their client were overblown.
The Legal Aid Society, which is representing Daniel Gill, a 39-year-old store associate at a ShopRite in Staten Island, New York, said that Giuliani had exaggerated the incident.
"The charges facing Daniel Gill, who has no previous contact with the criminal legal system, are inconsistent with existing law," the organization said in a statement. "Our client merely patted Mr. Giuliani, who sustained nothing remotely resembling physical injuries, without malice to simply get his attention, as the video footage clearly showed."
Gill was arrested on a felony charge of assault in the second degree in connection to the Sunday afternoon incident involving Giuliani at the ShopRite where Gill works, the New York Police Department said.
Prosecutors later downgraded the charges, and Gill was arraigned on Monday on misdemeanor charges of assault in the third degree, menacing in the third degree, and harassment in the second degree.
Gill — whom the NYPD told Insider has no other prior arrests on his record — was released by a judge without bail.
Video footage captured the Sunday afternoon incident, showing a man slapping Giuliani on the back before walking away as Giuliani was inside the store getting ready to campaign for his son Andrew, a Republican candidate for New York governor.
—Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) June 26, 2022
Giuliani said in a Facebook Live video on Monday that the video is "a little deceptive because it just shows a hand on my back."
"The police observed the whole video tape — not the little piece shown to you by the dishonest press — and they upgraded the charge to second-degree assault, a felony," he said. Giuliani did not reference prosecutors' decision to downgrade the charges.
An NYPD spokesperson told Insider that Gill slapped Giuliani on the mid-back while stating, "What's up, scumbag?"
Giuliani, who said he was left in pain from the incident, said in another Facebook Live video on Monday that the man who struck him could have "easily" knocked him to the ground and "killed" him if he hit his head.
"It was a very, very heavy shot," said Giuliani, 78, who added, "I got hit on the back as if a boulder hit me."
"His intent was to do serious harm," Giuliani said. "He is lucky that he didn't knock me down and I hit my skull and died or got a concussion or got seriously injured."
The former mayor referred to the man who touched him as a "little punk" who targeted him "because I am pro-life."
Giuliani, a Republican, said the suspect shouted "dirty curse words" at him and called him a "woman killer" whose "party kills women."
The Legal Aid Society said that Gill was "followed and threatened" by one of Giuliani's "associates" who "allegedly poked Mr. Gill in the chest and told him that he was going to be 'locked up'" after the incident.
"He was then needlessly held by the NYPD in custody for over 24 hours," the non-profit said of Gill.
"Given Mr. Giuliani's obsession with seeing his name in the press and his demonstrated propensity to distort the truth, we are happy to correct the record on exactly what occurred over the weekend on Staten Island," the Legal Aid Society said.
Gill, who has worked at the Staten Island ShopRite since 2017, was "suspended pending termination," over the incident, ShopRite's parent company told Insider on Monday.
"We have zero tolerance for aggression toward anyone," said Wakefern Food Corporation.
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