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Giants owner's nephew denies Conn. assault charge

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP)

A nephew of New York Giants owner John Mara pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges he hit a man in the head with a bottle during a New Year's Eve party.

The 22-year-old nephew, also named John Mara, entered the plea to charges of assault and breach of peace in Bridgeport Superior Court, said his attorney, William Dow III.

The man who was hit, Philip Blackman, said he had no recollection of the assault. He said doctors told him that if he had not gotten to the hospital and had emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain he might have died that night, according to the arrest affidavit, which says he suffered a skull fracture and a brain hemorrhage.

College student Luke Kazmierczak, who was home for the holidays, told police he witnessed the assault. But he initially did not pick Mara out of a photo lineup of six men, according to the affidavit. Police say that the photo of Mara, a senior at Fairfield University, was taken when he was a freshman and looked significantly different. When Kazmierczak later was shown an updated photo, he immediately picked out Mara as the person he saw hit Blackman, police say.

Mara, who lives in Mount Kisko, N.Y., was arrested in February.

The assault charge carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison upon conviction.

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