Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump's campaign manager who was caught on surveillance video assaulting a female reporter, has been charged in Florida with simple battery. Meanwhile, Trump is vowing to stand behind Lewandowski, insisting that the charges are "trumped" up.
As MSN reports, earlier this month in Jupiter, Florida, Lewandowski got into an altercation with Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields. In surveillance video released by police, Lewandowski can be seen grabbing Fields after she asked a question.
Michelle Fields resigned after the incident.
On Tuesday, Jupiter police issued Lewadnowski a notice to appear in court on May 4 for a charge of simple battery. The misdemeanor charge carries up to one year in jail, if convicted and sentenced to the maximum penalty.
Speaking to reporters, Trump vowed to stand by Lewandowski. First, he suggested that perhaps Fields was making up her injuries.
"How do you know those bruises weren't there before?"Next, Trump suggested that the incident has been overblown, and that Lewandowski, who intends to plead not guilty, will be exonerated in court.
"I'm not going to let a person's life be destroyed. No jury, in my opinion, would convict a man and destroy a man's life over what you witnessed."That Donald Trump has admitted that something happened at all is a departure for him. Prior to the release of the video of the incident, Trump had insisted that nothing happened.
Michelle Fields, for her part, insists that the truth will come out in court.
Because my story never changed. Seriously, just stop lying. https://t.co/1fz9cBHOuTThe Corey Lewandowski-Michelle Fields incident was just one of a series of violent incidents at Trump rallies that have marred the Republican front-runner's campaign ever since last fall. In fact, Slate has kept a running -- and growing -- list of violent incidents at Trump rallies. Those incidents include, but are not limited to, the following
— Michelle Fields (@MichelleFields) March 29, 2016
- March 19 in Tucson, a 32-year-old man sucker-punched and kicked a protester. The man was later arrested.
- Also March 19 in Tucson, Lewandowski and a Trump security guard appeared to grab a protester by the collar and pull him.
- March 9 in Fayetteville, North Carolina, a 78-year-old Trump supporter sucker-punched a black protester. Police then escorted the victim off the premises, while ignoring the assailant. He was later charged, and the cops who did nothing were later demoted, Trump, for his part, offered to pay the legal bills of the assailant.
Trump's opponents are seizing on the Lewandowski incident, hoping that the arrest will finally convince supporters that Trump's campaign has been marred by violence -- violence for which Trump bears at least some of the blame.
Speaking in Wisconsin, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton suggested that Trump himself bears responsibility for Lewandowski's actions.
"What Donald Trump has been doing over these last months is inciting violent behavior, aggressive behavior that I think is very dangerous and has resulted in attacks on people at his events including this charge that has now been brought against his campaign manager. I think ultimately the responsibility is Mr. Trump's."Meanwhile, Trump's chief rival for the Republican nomination, Ted Cruz, described the Trump campaign as promoting a culture of violence.
"[The Lewandowski incident is] the consequence of the culture of the Trump campaign — the abusive culture when you have a campaign that is built on personal insults, on attacks and now physical violence."Similarly, the anti-Trump Our Principles PAC (Political Action Committee) has released an ad showing a video montage of violent incidents at Trump rallies, including the Lewandowski incident, and showing viewers the bruises on Fields' arm.
"The police in Jupiter, Florida, have clearly seen what Donald Trump refuses to acknowledge: his campaign manager battered a woman and caused serious bruising."Through his attorney, Corey Lewandowski said that there will be no further comment on the Fields incident.
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]