"He wasn't acting as my employee. He wasn't acting on behalf of the assembly or myself. He was a volunteer. This was on his own time," said Corwin. "As his employer, I don't think I should be telling him what he should and should not be doing with his free time."
Davis's campaign says the probing questions, asked by Mallia after Davis abruptly withdrew from a debate, were harassment and that he was being targeted by Corwin. They maintain that Mallia was overacting and that Davis and an aide with him did not assault anyone.
Corwin said she, Davis, and Democrat Kathy Hochul have all been subject to increased scrutiny, and that comes with the terrain.
"I don't think he's being unfairly targeted. I think we're all probably getting about the same amount of focus," said Corwin. "The thing that really matters is how you handle it. I've had cameras on me for two months now, and I've never hit anybody, and I never felt like I should or needed to or I was justified in hitting anybody, and I think that's the difference is how you handle a situation like that."
Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy, who was the first to distribute the tape, also defended releasing the video, and said he was aware it was Mallia who was the videographer when he first sent it.
"I knew who it was, but I don't think it changes a thing," said Langworthy. "The guy was there on his own time, and it was after hours. He wasn't doing it with official resoucres. People that work for elected officials are often political junkies that get involved in campaigns."
Langworthy said the video still speaks for itself.
"He got physical, and it shows him verbally threatening someone. It shows that he doesn't have the temperament to serve in Congress," said Langworthy. "Davis has traditionally a very thin skin as far as campaigns go, and has taken great umbrage with people trying to point out what he's done in the past."