New York

Man Accused of Hitting Giuliani Faces Lesser Charges After Video Emerges

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

The worker, Daniel Gill, had been charged with second-degree assault, a felony, in the immediate aftermath of the episode. Prosecutors later reduced the charges to third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, third-degree menacing and second-degree harassment.

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

The encounter occurred at around 3:30 p.m. while Mr. Giuliani was at the store, on Veterans Road West in the Charleston neighborhood, to campaign on behalf of his son, Andrew Giuliani, a Republican candidate for governor, according to officials.

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

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

But footage of the episode, which was obtained and published by The New York Post, appears to show Mr. Gill patting, rather than hitting, Mr. Giuliani on his back near his left shoulder while walking past him. The video, which does not contain audio, also appears to show Mr. Giuliani leaning forward slightly 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 during an online news conference on Monday that the incident was connected to the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade last week. (He had said on Sunday that Mr. Gill said to him, “You’re going to kill women.”)

Mr. Giuliani, 78, fumed during the news conference about the lowering of the charges, saying, “What the hell is this D.A. doing letting him out of jail.” He claimed the video footage was “deceptive because it just shows the hand on my back.”

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

“This little punk isn’t 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 existing law.”

“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,” the statement continued.

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