One of the region's most high-profile criminal defense attorneys is now representing Seneca Nation businessman Eric White and his wife, Kristina, in connection with a Feb. 10 Seneca Niagara Casino brawl that also involved a state senator and his wife.
Attorney Paul J. Cambria Jr. told The Buffalo News on Sunday that he has been retained by the Whites and has begun reviewing evidence in the case.
"We've heard all kinds of hearsay and rumor about this incident, and I plan to sit down with the the Niagara Falls police, look at video evidence and talk to as many credible witnesses as I can," Cambria said Sunday. "My clients claim they did absolutely nothing wrong. I want to see if this will go down in history as nothing more than another barroom brawl."
According to Cambria, the Whites have spoken to police twice since the incident, and he said that, at one point, the couple told police they want to file charges against State Sen. Mark J. Grisanti, R-Buffalo, and his wife, Maria.
"They told an officer that, and the officer said, 'Well, that will be up to the detectives,' " Cambria said.
Grisanti and his wife, who suffered a concussion in the brawl, have stated publicly that they want to press criminal charges against casino patrons who allegedly attacked them.
Grisanti has accused Eric White of punching him and has alleged that his wife was attacked by at least two women who were with Eric White.
Several witnesses from the Seneca Nation have claimed the Grisantis were the aggressors, although the lawyer for a Seneca who was in the midst of the incident has said the Grisantis were the victims, according to his client.
The brawl erupted in a bar area late at night, following a $1,000-a-plate dinner for a diabetes foundation run by some Seneca Nation business people. The Grisantis' daughter, singer Ashlee Amoia, performed at the event.
Cambria said he hopes authorities will review all the evidence and speak with as many witnesses as possible before determining whether charges will be filed. He added that, at this time, he has no plans to make the Whites available for media interviews.