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‘Oz’ guy says it was self-defense

NYC- The “Oz” actor charged yesterday in a fatal Chelsea club fight insists he never pushed the man who fell to his death down an elevator shaft – but thrust him off his back in self-defense, his lawyers said.

Granville Adams, 43, who played a jailbird on the HBO hit, was released on $5,000 cash bail after he was arraigned on a charge of criminally negligent homicide for the 4 a.m. Saturday fight at BED, a trendy nightspot.

In court, his lawyers presented a far different account than early witness descriptions of the fight that led to the death of Orlando Valle of the Bronx.

Valle was celebrating his 35th birthday at BED when he got into a scuffle with Adams and was thrown against the elevator with such force that the doors opened and he plunged four stories.

“Blame the elevator,” said Aaron Golub, one of Adams’ two lawyers, in Manhattan Criminal Court. “But the elevator’s not showing up in court.”

Adams, a manager and host at BED, came running when he heard screams coming from the club’s coat-check area, his lawyers said.

He jumped between two brawling women, and then felt someone smash something on the back of his head, lawyer Edward Kratt said.

“As he’s between [the women], he gets attacked from behind. He’s hit in the back of the head by something – we don’t know what, a glass vase maybe.”

Kratt said Adams was knocked nearly unconscious from the blow when “he feels somebody jump on his back. He’s reeling from getting hit on the head. He throws the guy off his back – doesn’t push him. Throws him.”

Adams then landed on the ground, his lawyers said.

But Valle hit the elevator doors with enough force that they opened and he fell down the shaft, landing on the roof of the elevator car, cops said.

The actor was stunned to learn Valle had died, said his lawyers, who broke the news to him about noon Saturday as he was held in police custody.

“He was blown away by it,” Golub said.

Adams had a golf-ball size knot on the back of his head when he appeared in court, still dressed for BED in a black velvet jacket, black jeans, black shoes and a white shirt. He did not speak with reporters as he left court.

“He’s a sensitive guy, not a thug,” Kratt said.

But cops said Adams may have triggered the fight between the women when he made some kind of comment to Valle’s niece Tiffany Tanner, 20, as she went to get her coat.

The coat-check attendant took exception, witnesses said, and started screaming, “That’s my man!”

Tanner’s mom said yesterday her daughter was questioned by police as a witness.

“She came home crying,” mom Giselle Tanner said. “I don’t really know what happened.”

Valle had been celebrating his birthday with about 10 friends and relatives.

His 13-year-old son, Jordan, sadly surveyed the growing memorial outside the Manhattan apartment where Valle’s parents and sister live.

“He was just a great person,” said Valle’s niece Chanele Wiggins, 15. “He didn’t deserve to die.”

BED was closed yesterday.

The Buildings Department issued a permit to renovate the elevator at the W. 27th St. building on Nov. 30, 2004, according to city records.

Inspectors ran a followup inspection on June 2, 2006, to ensure the installation was performed to code.

Since then, the department has issued two violations related to the elevator, but they were unrelated to its safety.

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