Witnesses of Casino Fight Speak Out, Claim Senator was Aggressor

February 13, 2012 Updated Feb 13, 2012 at 10:17 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

February 13, 2012 Updated Feb 13, 2012 at 10:17 PM EDT

Niagara Falls, NY (WKBW)- Two witnesses have come forward to describe a fight Friday night inside the Seneca Niagara Casino that left Senator Mark Grisanti punched and his wife assaulted. The eyewitnesses, Ross and Robbie John, spoke with Radio Personality John Kane on the local radio program, "Let's Talk Native". The men claim Senator Mark Grisanti was the aggressor in the fight.

"He (Grisanti) started saying 'Do you know who the f I am?'," said Robbie John.

"You have the senator dropping 'F' bombs and being really aggressive," added Ross John.

Grisanti tells Eyewitness News that he and his family were attending an event at the casino to watch his daughter sing with the Scinta's, a popular performing group at the casino. It was after this event, in a lobby bar, that the senator and his wife say there were attacked, after Grisanti tried to intervene in an argument between two men.

"He asked me who I was, I said I'm Mark Grisanti I'm a state senator and he made a comment like 'you haven't done blank for the Seneca's' and punched me in the ribs. And then as I backed up I got hit in the side of the head," Grisanti described at a press conference held at his North Buffalo house Saturday afternoon.

His wife, Maria, says she was coming to the aid of her husband when she was suddenly struck and thrown to the ground.

"I don't know what hit me. All I knew is I hit the ground and I was down with two girls on top of me," she recalls. "I thought I was going to die on the ground, and my kids were there."

But according to Ross John, Maria Grisanti rushed to her husband's side but was pulled back, and scratched another woman's face.

"When that happened, all hell broke loose," said John "That's when she got taken down."

Officials with the Niagara Falls Police Department tell Eyewitness News they are interviewing witnesses and are waiting on surveillance footage before moving forward in the case. Senator Grisanti reacted to the accusations in Albany Monday.

"I'm not too concerned about the accusations because what I said was the truth," said Grisanti. "I'm not concerned about me, I'm concerned about my wife always have been, always will be."