David Livingston/Getty Images
David Livingston/Getty Images
The proof is in the pictures. Or, in this case, maybe the video.
The owner of Bamboo, a popular hot spot on the Jersey Shore frequented by the show of the same name's famous cast members, claims he has video evidence that Ronnie Ortiz-Magro did not throw the first punch in a fight earlier this month—contrary to a complaint to the police made against the reality-TV star.
"There were several individuals lobbing ice at the cast, and my staff asked them to leave," John Saaddy tells E! News. "One of [these people] went over and pushed one of the cast members from Pauly D's show, who shoved him back. You see Ronnie in the video holding everyone back, pushing everyone away, and it's clear. Then one of the individuals punched Ronnie in the face."
Saaddy says Ortiz-Magro retaliated with one punch, but "it's clear it was self defense."
The owner adds that he can't confirm the person who filed the complaint is the same guy Ortiz-Magro punched.
Saaddy's version is that Ortiz-Magro only threw one punch the entire time, and it was dealt to the same guy who punched him the first time.
"Ronnie hit the same guy who hit him," Saaddy claims. "That's the only guy Ronnie had an interaction with."
In other words, if Saaddy's interpretation of the video evidence is accurate, the man who filed the complaint, Justin Viterito, is actually the one who threw the first punch.
Saaddy says he has given the video to police. In the police complaint, Viterito says he is waiting to view the video evidence to see "if we will be charging another complaint against another castmember."
Viterito's lawyer Matthew DiBrino tells E! News, "I am not in possession of the footage. Despite attempts to secure this from Bamboo I have not been contacted by the owner nor a representative. Once I am given the opportunity to view the footage I will be able to respond and act accordingly."
But all the video does is exonerate Ortiz-Magro, insists Saaddy.
Saaddy has known the castmembers for a long time, "back when their food allowance was $500 a week."
The cast members have helped make his clubs (he also owns one called Karma) increase their sales by 50 percent. He says the cast is great with people.
"They're fantastic when they aren't filming," Saaddy says. "They sign autographs and have their pictures taken for hours. But when they're filming, they're working, and they aren't allowed to interact with people because that halts production. I don't think the public knows that, so they take it the wrong way and they take it out on the cast."
Saaddy adds, "Ninety-nine percent of the people love them. If I have 3,000 people in my club, 2,995 love them, but five will throw ice at them, call them names and be haters. Just leave them alone and let them work."
Right now, Saaddy is waiting on Viterito's "lawyer to file a lawsuit, then we'll take our position. This video protects Ronnie and our bar 100 percent."
Saaddy says he doesn't plan to release the video to the public, despite some pretty hefty offers to do so.
Ortiz-Magro is scheduled to appear at a court hearing set for July 3. Calls to Ortiz-Magro's representatives for comment have not yet been returned.