No charges in casino scuffle involving NY senator

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Associated Press

Posted on February 24, 2012 at 4:02 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 24 at 4:06 PM

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (AP) — No charges will be filed following a casino scuffle involving New York state Sen. Mark Grisanti two weeks ago, authorities said Friday.

The Niagara County District Attorney and Niagara Falls police said they made the determination after reviewing video and talking to witnesses and those involved in the fight at the Seneca Niagara Casino.

Calling it "an unfortunate incident," they said the case is closed.

"I disagree with the decision to not press charges," Grisanti responded. "However, I respect the judicial and legal process."

The first-term Republican and his wife Maria had said they wanted to pursue charges. They said they were attacked when Grisanti tried to mediate an argument between two men in the lobby bar following a fundraising gala for the Seneca Diabetes Foundation on Feb. 10.

Grisanti said that when he identified himself, one of the men cursed, accused him of hating the Seneca Nation and punched him in the chest. As the men scuffled, Maria Grisanti said she was thrown to the ground by two women who pulled her hair and repeatedly slammed her head on the floor, leaving her with a concussion.

"It is disappointing that enough evidence could not be collected to charge the people who attacked and injured my wife," Grisanti said. "My only priority in all of this has been the well-being of my wife Maria, and that does not change with the DA's decision."

The men and women the couple accused said Grisanti was the aggressor.

Police early on expressed doubts about whether anyone would be charged, telling media outlets that bar fights with multiple parties are difficult to sort out and prosecute and that surveillance video did not show who started the fight.

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