By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun
7:51 PM EDT, June 3, 2014
Two men who are accused of beating a fan at an Orioles game last year danced to the song "YMCA" as their victim lay bleeding with a fractured skull on a concrete floor below them, the man alleges in a $5 million lawsuit filed last week.
Matthew Fortese, who was 25 at the time of the alleged attack, says Gregory Fleishman and Michael David Bell taunted him and his date during a game between the Orioles and the Washington Nationals last May at Camden Yards. When the Hagerstown man tried to confront them, he says in the lawsuit, Fleishman "sucker punched" him in the head, sending him to intensive care.
Fleishman, 23, of Jarrettsville, and Bell, 22, of Annapolis, also face criminal assault charges in connection with the incident. Both have pleaded not guilty. They are awaiting trial.
Jeremy Eldridge, who is representing Fleishman in the criminal case, said that he has yet to see the lawsuit but that it appears to contain information about the incident not provided to the two men's lawyers.
"We need to see what the complaint says," Eldridge said. "We're not going to go to trial if we don't have all the discovery and all of the information."
Bell's attorney could not be reached for comment.
Fortese says the dispute started when Fleishman and Bell started taunting him about his New York Yankees cap. About an hour and half into the game, Fortese says, an Oriole hit a double and Bell threw a beer at Fortese and his date, soaking her.
Fortese says he tried to walk up a stairway, but was blocked by cheering fans. He says he grabbed a railing and began to pull himself up.
Fortese says Bell grabbed his hands and Fleishman punched him in the side of the head, sending him headfirst onto the concrete below.
Fleishman's attorney said that Fortese's attempt to clamber up over the railing indicate that he was the aggressor.
"It is threatening," Eldridge said. "That set of facts on their own will be persuasive to a judge a jury."
Fortese was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center for treatment. He says in the lawsuit that he suffered "permanent serious and debilitating injuries as a result of the incident."
Fleishman and Bell, who are both out on bail, requested a postponement of a trial date set for April because they were both away in college.
They are due back in court on June 19. Eldridge said the civil suit could open up new avenues for the defense in the criminal case to investigate.
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