BALTIMORE (WJZ) –One day after the family of a man critically injured at an Orioles game while wearing a Yankees cap speaks out, attorneys for one of the suspects says his client is innocent.
Jessica Kartalija explains attorneys for Gregory Fleischman say their client is innocent, that the victim actually approached him first.
Twenty five-year-old Matthew Fortese is in a rehabilitation hospital learning how to talk again.
This, after falling several feet onto the concrete at Nationals-Orioles game at Camden Yards, cracking his skull and leaving him unconscious.
“They were harassed because Matt was wearing a Yankees baseball hat,” said Fortese’s attorney Andrew Alperstein.
Michael Bell and Gregory Fleischman have been charged with assault.
Witnesses say they had been throwing beer on fans and heckling Fortese about his hat.
“First and foremost, our client is a Yankees fan,” said defense attorney Jeremy Eldridge.
Charging documents said Fleischman punched Fortese, causing him to fall, but attorneys for the 22-year old defendant say their client may have been acting in self-defense.
“This man climbed eight feet to aggressively approach our client and that’s according to the police report,” said Eldridge.
Fortese was on his date with Taylor Queen when the fight broke out.
Witnesses say Fleischman and Bell continued to yell and spit at Fortese while he was on the ground.
“At this point, we maintain our client’s innocence and we believe he had no role in causing Mr. Fortese’s injuries,” said Eldrige.
“We are doing a thorough investigation and continuing to speak with witnesses. They’re also asking that witnesses please come forward and says Michael Bell maintains his innocence,” said Sharon Weidenfeld, a private investigator working for Bell’s attorneys.
No lawsuits have been filed, but attorneys on both sides are hoping more witnesses will come forward.
“The tip line has been ringing off the hook with helpful information establishing that the criminal defendants were not legally justified in the violent assault of Matt Fortese,” said Alperstein.
Attorneys for Fleischman said it doesn’t make sense that a Yankees fan would go after another Yankees fan.
When asked if his client had also been wearing Yankees gear, Eldridge said “no comment.”
A preliminary hearing is set for July 17.