The man in charge of preliminary investigations into allegations of misconduct in the House of Representatives is himself accused of physically and verbally assaulting women. A lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania alleges that Omar Ashmawy, staff director at the Office of Congressional Ethics, initiated a 2015 Valentine's Day brawl at Milford's Dimmick Inn, which resulted in the bar owner and another man pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge, reports Foreign Policy. A third man, Greg Martucci—who had charges against him dropped—alleges "an extremely violent and belligerent" Ashmawy was "verbally abusive" to a female bartender and "threw and/or pushed" the bar owner's wife and a third woman, per the New York Daily News. The bar owner's wife told police that Ashmawy, who was not charged, grabbed her by the wrists before falling on top of her.
"I have never had a man physically harm me or scare me," the third woman told police a month later. "He was sexually harassing, abusing and I feared for my life." Ashmawy gave police a different version of events. He said the bartender, who'd had "a previous altercation" with his girlfriend, "spoke fighting words" before two other women "abruptly came up to me." Ashmawy said three men then "attacked me without any provocation," leaving him bloodied. Though the two men eventually pleaded guilty, Martucci—whose suit also names Milford and its police chief—claims Ashmawy used his position to avoid arrest and bring charges. Five weeks after the incident, Ashmawy wrote an email to police saying he was "deeply concerned" by a lack of charges against the men, which he said was viewed by some as related to "my ethnicity." Motions to dismiss the case have been filed. (Read more assault stories.)