Mayor of Atlantic City Cleared in Casino Brawl

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NORTH WILDWOOD -

Atlantic City's mayor has been cleared of criminal charges stemming from a fight outside a casino last year.

Frank Gilliam Jr. was caught on video in November in a brawl with several people outside the Golden Nugget casino on Nov. 11.

A judge hearing the case Thursday in nearby North Wildwood, where it had been transferred to avoid a conflict of interest, dismissed assault and harassment charges against the mayor.

A city councilman who also was present, Jeffree Fauntleroy II, was fined $500 fine for impeding traffic in a public space. Both are Democrats.

After the court session, Gilliam told reporters the decision validates his claim that he did nothing wrong.

"The justice system basically proved itself on what we stated from the very beginning," Gilliam said.

His lawyer, Vincent Campo, said the mayor's conduct was found not to have constituted a crime.

"The mayor was accosted and attempted to protect himself," Campo said. "He's entitled to do that."

Prosecutors declined to file charges after investigating, but two citizen complaints were filed against the pair by casino nightclub staff members, alleging harassment and simple assault.

According to the complaints, Gilliam "swung a punch but missed but kept trying to attack" one man. Fauntleroy was accused of punching a man in the face before throwing him on the ground.

The fight came less than a month before FBI agents raided Gilliam's house, removing cardboard boxes and computer equipment while carrying out a search warrant. Federal authorities have not said what they were looking for, and no charges stemming from the raid had been announced as of Thursday.

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