A 39-year-old man who allegedly slapped Rudy Giuliani on the back Sunday has been charged with assault with intent to cause physical injury, harassment in the second degree and menacing in the third degree and was released on his own recognizance after a court appearance Monday, court records show.
Daniel Gill, a ShopRite employee, slapped Giuliani on the back and said, “What’s up, scumbag?” while he was at the supermarket in Staten Island on Sunday, the New York Police Department told CNN.
Giuliani told WABC Radio’s Curtis Sliwa on his radio show on Sunday that during the incident, “I walk to the men’s room, I come out of the men’s room, a group of people are around me hugging me, kissing me, telling me Andrew is great and all of a sudden I feel a shot on my back like somebody shot me.”
The former mayor of New York and onetime attorney to former President Donald Trump told WABC that he went forward but caught himself after the slap. “Lucky I’m a 78-year-old in pretty good shape, because if I wasn’t I’d have hit the ground and probably cracked my skull,” he said.
The Legal Aid Society, which is representing Gill, said their client had patted Giuliani and just wanted to get his attention.
“The charges facing Daniel Gill, who has no previous contact with the criminal legal system, are 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,” according to the statement.
“Mr. Gill was then followed and threatened by one of Mr. Giuliani’s associates who allegedly poked Mr. Gill in the chest and told him that he was going to be ‘locked up’. He was then needlessly held by the NYPD in custody for over 24 hours,” the organization said in the statement.
“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.”
A ShopRite spokesperson told CNN in a statement Sunday that it was “aware of an incident instigated by a store associate involving former Mayor Rudy Giuliani took place at the ShopRite of Veterans Road on Staten Island earlier today,” adding that “store security observed the incident, reacted swiftly and the police were notified. We have zero tolerance for aggression toward anyone.”
Earlier Monday, Giuliani called for the perpetrator to be prosecuted and said he would not stop campaigning publicly for his son, who is running as a Republican for governor in New York state. The primary vote is Tuesday.
Gill is scheduled to be back in court on August 17, according to court records.