A homeless man is in jail for allegedly helping to beat up Josie Smith-Malave

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated September 14, 2007 08:00 AM
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A homeless man was charged with participating in an anti-gay attack on former Top Chef TV contestant Josie Smith-Malave over the Labor Day weekend, reports the Associated Press.

Matthew W. Walli, 20, originally from Oregon, was part of a group of about 12 people involved in a confrontation with the openly gay Smith-Malave and three other women who had just been asked to leave a bar in Sea Cliff, N.Y., according to Nassau County police.

Walli’s group shouted derogatory statements about the women’s perceived sexual orientation, spat on them and beat them, police said. Walli stole a video camera from one of the women, causing her to fall and hurt her knee, they said.

Smith-Malave, 32, was featured on the second season of the Bravo channel reality show and had been on Long Island for a friend’s birthday party. She suffered bruises as a result of the incident, her lawyer, Yetta Kurland, said.

Smith-Malave’s sister, who is heterosexual, also was struck, and another woman’s head was injured.

Walli’s arrest came Wednesday afternoon. He was charged with robbery as a bias crime, which is punishable by as many as 15 years in prison upon conviction. His arraignment was Thursday, said police, who did not state what led them to Walli, who remains in jail.

Police said the case remains under investigation.

Smith-Malave, a Miami native, is a former sous-chef for Brooklyn’s Marlow and Sons restaurant and worked at Manhattan’s Lever House, on Park Avenue, according to Bravo.