Flip-Flopper Grisanti Involved in Casino Brawl, Allegations of Racial Epithets Could Dim Re-Election Chances


The New York Times:

"...Senator Mark J. Grisanti, a Republican from the Buffalo area, said he was attacked on Friday night after trying to play the role of a mediator when he saw two men arguing in the lobby bar at the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel. The senator told reporters that he stepped in to calm them down, and that before he knew it, he was being struck in the head and his wife was on the ground, being pummeled by two women.

But several witnesses in recent days have stepped forward to say that Mr. Grisanti was the aggressor.

... The timing is problematic for Mr. Grisanti, who was one of four Republican senators who broke party ranks in casting the decisive votes to pass a same-sex-marriage bill last year. He will probably face a difficult re-election campaign, even if the Senate Republicans succeed in making him a new district tailored to improve his odds."

The Buffalo News adds:

"...a new controversy about the rumble arose Monday evening when another Seneca Nation businessman told The Buffalo News he heard Grisanti yelling racial epithets at a black security officer during the Friday night incident. However, no racial epithets can be heard in a cellphone video of the incident given to the News by an attorney for another Seneca businessman.

The video shows Grisanti being held on the floor and later put in a chokehold by security officers.

The allegation of racist remarks was made by businessman Ross L. John Sr., a former member of the Senecas' Tribal Council. John said he is certain that he heard Grisanti "at least twice" yelling a harsh racial epithet at a black security officer who had subdued him."