Nicholas_Daniel_Lorusso_II

A former LSU student and fraternity member accused of pushing another student down two flights of stairs during an August 2017 fraternity preview event pleaded not guilty Monday.

Nicholas Daniel Lorusso II, 21, of New Orleans, appeared before state District Judge Don Johnson with his attorney, Kyle Kershaw, and entered a not guilty plea to simple battery, a misdemeanor.

Lorusso, the son of former Republican state Rep. Nicholas "Nick" Lorusso, of New Orleans, also pleaded not guilty to marijuana possession stemming from a January 2017 incident.

Kershaw declined comment outside Johnson's courtroom after the arraignment.

Police booked Lorusso on second-degree battery, a felony, after the victim was injured at the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity house. The East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney's Office charged him with the lesser crime of simple battery in November.

The Aug. 17, 2017, incident at the Delta Kappa Epsilon house occurred less than a month before the fatal Sept. 14, 2017, hazing of LSU freshman Max Gruver at the now-defunct Phi Delta Theta house.

Police said the victim in the incident involving Lorusso volunteered to tour fraternity houses with potential members. While in the Delta Kappa Epsilon house, the volunteer went upstairs to make sure no potential members left the main floor, which would be a violation of the tour rules, a police report says.

Part of his job as a volunteer, called a Rho Alpha, was to make sure that no one broke the rules.

When the volunteer reached the third floor a man confronted him about what he was doing upstairs, the police report states. After explaining, the volunteer turned to leave but was confronted by a second man, later identified as Lorusso, who pushed him down the stairs, according to the report.

Lorusso was not an LSU student at the time, Kershaw confirmed.

The volunteer got up but Lorusso pushed him down the next set of stairs, cutting and fracturing the victim's hand, the report says. The volunteer needed 13 stitches in his hand and surgery to repair the fracture.

Lorusso's next court date in Baton Rouge state court is March 21.


Follow Joe Gyan Jr. on Twitter, @JoeGyanJr.