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Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani doubled down Monday on his wildly overblown characterization that he was brutally assaulted by a Staten Island grocery store worker over the weekend, despite security footage showing the man only tapped his back.
Speaking to about 200 people in a Facebook Live, Giuliani called the viral security footage “deceptive.” He claimed the pat packed so much vigor it nearly knocked him and a friend to the ground, but he was able to stay upright because he’s in such good shape for his age.
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“The video tape that you see probably is a little deceptive because it just shows a hand on my back,” Giuliani said. “The police observed the whole video tape—not the little piece shown to you by the dishonest press—and they upgraded his charge to second-degree assault, a felony.”
Giuliani said, at his age, he could’ve easily died if he was knocked down by the “slap”—a fate that befell his uncle after he fell down once.
“I’m in pretty good shape, I didn’t fall down, but I could have,” Giuliani said. “If I fell down, who knows…Elderly people die most often from falling down.”
Giuliani said the man, 38-year-old Daniel Gill, attacked him because he is outwardly against abortion. After the pat, the former mayor claims Gill gave him an earful about last week’s overturning of the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion ruling and how it will cause women to die.
“All of a sudden, I feel this, ‘Bam!’ on my back,” Giuliani initially told the New York Post of the incident, later saying the alleged smack caused him “tremendous pain.”
Before the footage surfaced, Giuliani also claimed it felt like “a boulder hit me,” saying in a Facebook video Gill knocked him forward “a step or two.” Speaking on The Curtis Sliwa Show, he said it felt like he had been shot in the back.
“All of a sudden, I feel a shot on my back, like somebody shot me,” Giuliani said, according to The Washington Post.
In reality, the footage showed Giuliani standing straight up after the pat, facing Gill as he was pushed away by people who surrounded the former mayor while he stumped for his son’s gubernatorial campaign.
Gill, an employee at the ShopRite, was initially arrested on a felony charge of second-degree assault involving a person over 65. But that charge was downgraded to misdemeanor assault, while two other misdemeanors for menacing and harassment were added by Assistant District Attorney Darren Albanese in Staten Island on Monday, the New York Daily News reported.
Gill’s lawyer, Susan Platis, reportedly said in court the alleged slap “appears to be a tap on the back” and the video “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.”
The Daily News reported that Gill was released without bail but is prohibited from going near Giuliani.
Giuliani insisted he was never scared of Gill. Instead, he lashed out against New York officials for allowing the grocery store employee to bail out of jail, insinuating Gill—who has no prior arrests, his lawyer said Monday—would now go on an elderly slapping spree.
“I don’t care for me, I can take care of myself, this little punk isn’t going to hurt me,” Giuliani said. “The mafia threatened to kill me twice, the FARC wants to cut my throat…I’m not allowed to go to Sicily because I’m told they never forget. You think I worry about this little punk? I worry about this little punk for you, because if he can come and hit me, a 78-year-old man, the next thing he’s going to do is hit you.”