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'Pushy' Giannoulias Fundraiser Says He was Assaulted

7:00 AM, Jun 24, 2010 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Politico had a story yesterday about an Alexi Giannoulias fundraiser gone awry. Giannoulias is the Democratic nominee for Senate from Illinois, vying to hold the seat currently being occupied by Roland Burris.

This particular event first made news when an National Republican Senatorial Committee videographer showed up at the event, which was held on a rooftop patio in downtown Washington, D.C., but was soon turned away in what resulted in a minor physical altercation between Giannoulias supporters and the videographer. The exchange, naturally, was caught on tape and uploaded to YouTube:

Michael Kosmas, the person in this video who confronts the videographer, spoke to THE WEEKLY STANDARD during a phone interview yesterday.

Apparently, after the event ended, and most of his guests had gone home, Kosmas went to confront his fellow condo resident, whose guest was the NRSC videographer. He knocked on her door. It was 10:45 pm. But she didn’t respond.

Sometime, soon after, a confrontation occurred in the condo, witnessed by the building’s security and around ten guests of Kosmas. 

When asked why he would even intervene, instead of just ignoring the incident, Kosmas says that he hoped to prevent “the goons in the National Republican Senatorial Committee [from] interfering at a private party” of his in the future.

But that’s when things really went awry. According to the Politico report, the confrontation resulted in the “harassment, intimidation, and assault” of the woman by Kosmas. (The woman’s attorney, citing safety concerns to the news outlet, remains anonymous.)

But that’s not how Kosmas sees it. He says that he’s the victim: “If anybody should be complaining about assault it should be me,” he told me in an interview. He claims that after confronting her about the incident, trying to get “a commitment that she isn’t going to open the door to videographers and game players,” that she “ran away” and “brushed past” him. That, according to Kosmas, was the only physical contact that occurred.

It’s a 'he said, she said' battle. And the lawyers have already been called in. Chances are it won't play that much into the November election against Mark Kirk. But it does reinforce a stereotype about Giannoulias, which is that he's a mob banker who surrounds himself with goons.

UPDATE: NRSC spokeswoman Amber Marchand passes along this statement, regarding my piece on the Kosmas affair: “We initially questioned Mr. Kosmas’ temperament, but this explanation begs his sanity into question. No one forced Mr. Kosmas to find this young woman’s apartment with his two friends, bang on her door, and scream vulgar expletives at her late in the evening. Mr. Kosmas was clearly attempting to intimidate and harass her, and the Giannoulias campaign’s refusal to apologize for their associate’s violent and predatory behavior against a young woman is unsettling.” 

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