BY DUNCAN OSBORNE | A 45-year-old man charged with attempted robbery and third-degree assault as a hate crime in 2010 incidents in two West Village gay bars said that while he was involved in a bar fight, he never used anti-gay or racial slurs.
“I just wanted to tell my side of the story,” said Frederick A. Giunta in a phone interview with Gay City News. “I think it’s only fair because I am facing a lot of time in this case.”
Giunta, who said he is bisexual, arrived in the West Village at roughly 1:00 p.m. on October 11. He told police he was there to see a friend. He then visited a series of gay bars and drank at each one. By the time he reached Julius’ on West 10th Street at about 5:40 p.m., he was “really, really intoxicated,” Giunta said.
Allegedly, he fought with another patron and an employee there after an argument. During the set-to, he is alleged to have used anti-gay and racial slurs.
“[The bartender] then jumps over the bar, grabs me,” Giunta said. “As they are escorting me out to the door, I’m sure I might have said something, but nothing hateful at all. It’s blown out of proportion… I had no intent to do what they are saying I was doing.”
Giunta acknowledged he was involved in the fight, but called it a “bar scuffle” when talking to Gay City News.
“There was one punch that was thrown that I could admit to,” he said. “I never used words of hate.”
Just prior to going to Julius’, Giunta is alleged to have attempted to steal a wallet from someone near Ty’s Bar on Christopher Street.
He denied doing that.
The third-degree assault as a hate crime charge is significant in Giunta’s case. If he is convicted, that E felony will be sentenced as if it is a D felony, and his possible maximum time in prison will go from four years to seven years.
Giunta was already on parole on an earlier larceny charge. In that case, he was diverted to drug and alcohol treatment instead of prison. Since he was re-arrested, he would likely have to serve at least two years in prison on the larceny charge.
Aside from the larceny case, he has served three short prison terms for larceny and drug sales since 1991. None were violent crimes.
Giunta could not make his $25,000 bail, so he has been held in the Manhattan Detention Center since his October 15 arrest. He spoke to Gay City News by phone after his wife, Judy, approached the newspaper offering an interview with him.
“A lot of these things are just fabricated,” Giunta said. “I was actually flirting with the bartender… I’m a very caring, kind person.”
Giunta’s case followed the arrests of two men, Christopher Orlando, 17, and Matthew Francis, 21, for the October 3 assault on a gay man in the Stonewall Inn, the site of the 1969 riot that sparked the modern gay rights movement. The two face attempted robbery and third-degree assault charges, all as hate crimes. Francis also faces a weapons possession charge.
The Manhattan district attorney declined to comment.
The Giunta case is being prosecuted by Anne Siegel, an assistant district attorney who prosecuted a number of gay and bisexual men arrested by vice cops for prostitution in Manhattan porn shops. Those arrests are seen as false arrests in the gay community.