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State Senator Returns to work after Fight at Casino

Senator Mark Grisanti
Senator Mark Grisanti

A State Senator from Western New York was back at work at the State Capitol Monday, following an incident over the weekend at a Niagara Falls Indian Casino where he and his wife were involved in a fight.

Senator Mark Grisanti, a Republican from the Buffalo area, says he tried to quell an argument between two tribe members at the bar of the Seneca Nation casino in downtown Niagara Falls following a diabetes fundraiser, when one of the men attacked him. A fracas ensued, and Grisanti’s wife was beaten by two women, suffering a concussion and other injuries. Now, one of the women accused in a police report of attacking Maria Grisanti,  says the Senator punched her husband as he left the casino, following the fight. Grisanti denies the accusation, and says the only people he may have hit were those holding him back from rescuing his wife.

“I went in there, and I was making these sweeping motions to move, to clear people out,” said Grisanti.  “If somebody got hit in any circumstance whatsoever, that’s too bad.”

Grisanti says he was justified in the effort to to save his wife from further harm.

“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” he said.   

Grisanti was at a Senate hearing on prescription drug abuse.  He left early, saying he did want all of the attention over the Friday night incident to detract from the proceedings.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.