Charges downgraded against NYC supermarket worker who slapped Giuliani

0
2

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani says the slap he received from a pro-choice supermarket worker shows New York City has turned into the “Wild, Wild West” — but the charges against his assailant have been downgraded, with the suspect’s lawyer describing the ‘assault’ as more like a tap.

“He hit me to knock me down,” the 78-year-old Giuliani said Monday of suspect James Gill. “If that doesn’t merit jail time in New York, we’re in the Wild, Wild West.”

Giuliani stressed that he could have fallen and died, as an uncle of his did.

But Daniel Gill’s lawyer Susan Platis told a judge in Staten Island Criminal Court the slap “appears to be a tap on the back” and that the only threat came afterwards when someone with Giuliani followed Gill, poked him in the chest and threatened him.

Gill, who at 39 is half Giuliani’s age, was initially charged by police with felony assault because the victim is older than 65.

But the Staten Island District Attorney’s office decided instead on misdemeanor assault plus two other misdemeanors, for menacing and harassment.

The former mayor was campaigning with his son Andrew, a Republican candidate for governor, when he used the bathroom in a ShopRite in the Charleston section of Staten Island Sunday. That’s when Gill struck the elder Giuliani across the back and allegedly said “What’s up, scumbag?”

Giuliani said Gill told him his pro-life stance “kills women,” an apparent reference to the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade.

Assistant District Attorney Darren Albanese said Giuliani complained of “substantial pain” in his back, “took a step forward losing his balance” and might need to see a doctor.

Albanese questioned, given the incident occurred in front of many witnesses, if Gill “would use the good judgement required to return to court when told to do so by the court.”

But Gill’s lawyer noted Gill has no prior arrests and argued he should not be subject even to supervised released.

Plus, she said, video of the encounter “is actually not helpful to the prosecution.”

“I think it actually shows a tap on the back, which is not criminal conduct,” Platis said in court. “There’s no intent here to harm anyone. [Giuliani] may have been surprised and stunned being touched in the back…but he’s a public figure, your honor. Being spoken to and things being said to him should be of no surprise and should be anticipated.”

Judge Gerianne Abriano released Gill without bail but issued an order of protection prohibiting Gill from going near the former federal prosecutor.

The Daily News Flash

The Daily News Flash

Weekdays

Catch up on the day’s top five stories every weekday afternoon.

Gill, outside the ground-floor Staten Island apartment where he lives alone, said after his arraignment he had been advised not to talk to press by his lawyer.

Pressed, he wouldn’t say if he is still employed by ShopRite, but did say he has a degree in communication, used to work in radio and now considers himself “the face of this economy.”

“I have a college degree,” he said, “and I’m working a minimum wage job.”

Earlier, in a virtual press conference, Giuliani talked tough.

“I don’t care for me,” he said. “I can take care of myself. This little punk isn’t going to hurt me. The mafia threatened me twice…He did it for a specific reason — because I’m pro life. I gotta get hit because I’m pro life?”

Giuliani, who as former President Donald Trump’s lawyer has been criticized for his role in pushing wild unproven claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, also railed against Mayor Adams.

“We have an epidemic of crime in this city, when people are dying and he’s partying,” Giuliani said of the current mayor. “I’ll tell you I was in the basement of Gracie Mansion until four in the morning. Right now, your record is worse than de Blasio…How can you go to the parties when your people are dying. And by the way, the majority of them are Black people. I cared a lot more about them than you do with all your bull — I saved their lives.”

Source