A top official in the office tasked with investigating allegations of misconduct on Capitol Hill is the subject of a federal lawsuit that claims he physically and verbally assaulted three women at a restaurant in 2015.
Gregory Martucci, a former federal air marshal, filed the lawsuit against Omar Ashmawy, the staff director and chief counsel of the Office of Congressional Ethics, in federal court in September. The lawsuit focuses specifically on a fight that occurred Feb. 14, 2015, at the Dimmick Inn in Milford, Pa., and the events following the brawl.
Martucci accuses Ashmawy of not only physically and verbally assaulting three women that night, but also of attempting to use his position with the federal government to push local law enforcement to file charges against Martucci.
In a statement to Foreign Policy, Ashmawy denied the claims Martucci makes in the lawsuit.
“To be clear, I did not harass anyone that evening, physically or verbally,” he said. “To the contrary, I was the victim of a wholly unprovoked assault for which those responsible were investigated, arrested and charged. Any allegation to the contrary is unequivocally false.”
According to the complaint, Ashmawy, who was allegedly drunk, was verbally abusive toward Dawn Jorgenson, whose husband John Jorgenson owns the Dimmick Inn, and Joey-Lynn Smith, a bartender at the restaurant.
Martucci claims he saw “an extremely violent and belligerent” Ashmawy throw or push Dawn Jorgenson to the ground or hostess stand, and throw or push Christina Floyd, a friend of Jorgenson’s.
Martucci, John Jorgenson, and another man intervened in the altercation and brought him outside.
There, Ashmawy allegedly started to engage in a physical dispute with his girlfriend, Kelly Paddock, who was also said to be intoxicated.
The Milford Police Department was called, and both Ashmawy and Paddock were driven away from the scene in the back of a police car.
In a statement from March 2015 that Dawn Jorgenson gave to police, Jorgenson said she saw Ashmawy “clearly sexually harassing” Smith, according to Foreign Policy.
“You’ll give me drinks, but you won’t fuck me,” Ashmawy allegedly told the bartender, according to Jorgenson’s statement.
Dawn Jorgenson said Ashmawy cursed at Smith, blocked her with his body, and grabbed her wrists. He then grabbed Jorgenson’s wrist “so tightly that he falls to the ground landing to the left of me” when Jorgenson attempted to step in, she said in her statement.
Floyd, the third woman involved, said in her own written statement to police from March 2015 she “watched each time Omar would come down and verbally sexually harass the bartender as he ordered drinks."
Floyd said she was “very scared” of Ashmawy and said he was “sexually harassing, abusing and I feared for my life.” She also said Ashmawy was “sexually harassing and verbally abusive” to Smith.
Despite the allegations from Martucci and the women, two people who were also at the Dimmick Inn said they saw three men drag Ashmawy out of the bar but didn’t see his actions toward the three women, according to Foreign Policy.
In a brief filed in court Dec. 6, one witness “called 911 after witnessing Defendant Ashmawy be attacked by three men and then one of the men involved in the attack dragging him outside.”
Two months after the Feb. 14, 2015, brawl, three men were arrested and charged for assaulting Ashmawy, including Martucci. The charges against Martucci were dropped last year.
Ashmawy said in a statement to police the night of the altercation that his girlfriend and Smith had a “previous altercation” that led to a disagreement between the women at the Dimmick Inn.
He said the bartender “spoke fighting words to me” and said the two other women — presumably Floyd and Jorgenson — “abruptly came up to me.”
Then the three men assaulted him, he said.
In his statement to police, Ashmawy said he only had “the sight of one eye and I’m bleeding from multiple wounds to include my eye and my lip,” according to Foreign Policy.
Ashmawy confirmed to Foreign Policy in his statement that he was attacked.
“This matter was fully investigated. I was the victim, and the men responsible were arrested and charged,” he said. “The three assailants attacked me without any provocation whatsoever, and any suggestion to the contrary is nothing but an exercise in slander.”
No charges were filed against Ashmawy for the alleged physical and verbal abuse, and in his lawsuit, Martucci attributed this to his “political position” in Washington.
Martucci said Ashmawy made continual complaints to the Milford Police Department and Pike County District Attorney’s Office regarding the 2015 altercation and threatened a federal investigation into the conduct of the local agencies.
“Ashmawy has threatened to use the power of his office as a federal government official to coerce the Milford Police Department and/or Pike County Office of the District Attorney to pursue a criminal action against the Plaintiff,” the lawsuit states.
The Milford police chief allegedly told others he decided to file felony charges against Martucci because Ashmawy was a “DC big shot.”
Ashmawy sent an email to the police chief and the district attorney’s office, reviewed by Foreign Policy, that said he was “deeply concerned” charges hadn’t been filed against the three men who allegedly attacked him.
He also suggested people within the federal government had become aware of the case.
“There is no hiding what happened to me from the people I interact with on a day to day basis,” Ashmawy wrote in his email. “As result, there are a growing number of individuals in the Washington, DC community who have taken an interest in this matter and are concerned that one of the reasons this matter has languished is because I’m not a resident of Milford, PA. I’ve assured them that isn’t true. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that my ethnicity, as an Arab-American and Muslim, might also be a factor in the delayed investigation and the charging of the individuals responsible. I’ve explained that is unlikely.”