Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, has been arrested and charged with battery, following an incident earlier in the month in which he allegedly assaulted Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields.
The Jupiter Police Department have confirmed that they formally charged Lewandowski on Tuesday morning following allegations that he assaulted Fields outside of a March 8 press conference at the Palm Beach Country Trump National Golf Club.
Fields told police she tried to ask Trump a question as he exited the ballroom following his speech. She held up her cellphone as a recording device, asked the question and then, “felt someone yank her left arm,” Lewandowski’s arrest report stated. “She added that she fell back but caught herself from falling.”
Fields told police she then turned to Washington Post reporter Ben Terris following the incident to ask “if it was ‘Corey’ who had grabbed her,” the report said. Terris confirmed it was, the report stated.
Fields filed a complaint with the Jupiter Police Department on March 11. When she arrived at the police station, she showed a detective her left forearm, the report said. The detective noted “bruising from what appeared to be several finger marks, indicating a grabbing type injury.”
Fields also played the cellphone recording of the encounter, the report stated.
Police detectives contacted Terris, who backed up Fields’ statements, the report said. They also pulled video footage from Trump Security. That footage, the report said, showed what appeared to be Lewandowski extending “his left arm out, stepping between Trump and another male subject believed to be U.S. Secret Service. After extending his arm out, Lewandowski appeared to reach for Field’s left arm with his left hand, allowing him to get closer to Fields.”
Based on the investigation, the police department charged Lewandowski with simple battery at 8:10 a.m. Tuesday.
Trump’s campaign has adamantly denied the charges.
“Mr. Lewandowski is absolutely innocent of this charge,” the campaign said in a statement following Tuesday’s announcement. “He will enter a plea of not guilty and looks forward to his day in court.”
Trump also took to Twitter in Lewandowski’s defense, Tuesday.
Wow, Corey Lewandowski, my campaign manager and a very decent man, was just charged with assaulting a reporter. Look at tapes-nothing there!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2016
Trump also accused Fields of changing her story, prompting a fast response from the journalist:
Because my story never changed. Seriously, just stop lying. https://t.co/1fz9cBHOuT
— Michelle Fields (@MichelleFields) March 29, 2016
Lewandowski took to Twitter during the first days after the allegations were made to deny them.
@MichelleFields you are totally delusional. I never touched you. As a matter of fact, I have never even met you.
— Corey Lewandowski (@CLewandowski_) March 11, 2016
Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign responded to news of the arrest by saying, “This is what we have come to expect from the Trump team.” The statement, made by Alice Stewart, communications director, was posted to Twitter.
Cruz camp communications director Alice Stewart on Trump campaign manager’s arrest pic.twitter.com/mukhPwGUId
— Sara Murray (@SaraMurray) March 29, 2016
Following the March 8 incident, Breitbart posted a story challenging Fields’ and Terris’ version of events. While the story concluded someone grabbed Fields, the writer asserted it couldn’t be Lewandowski. Fields and editor at-large Ben Shapiro both resigned shortly after the story ran.
Accusations of violence at Trump campaign events have made headlines throughout the Republican’s run for the nomination. Chaos broke out after Trump canceled a rally in Chicago and at another event, a supporter was accused of sucker-punching a protester. North Carolina police even looked into filing charges against Trump for inciting a riotafter the alleged sucker-punching incident.
During a March Trump rally in Tampa, former Alaska Gov.Sarah Palin addressed the hoopla that has gone hand-in-hand with the campaign’s events. “What we don’t have time for is all that petty punk ass little thuggery stuff that’s been going on with (these) protesters,” she told the crowd gathered at the Tampa Convention Center.
How soon Lewandowski will get his day in court remains unclear.