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Trump Campaign Manager Charged With Battery After Allegedly Manhandling Reporter

Corey Lewandowski allegedly grabbed reporter Michelle Fields at a campaign event in Jupiter, Florida — police on Tuesday released footage of the incident. Trump later insisted his campaign manager did nothing wrong. This post has been updated.

Originally posted on
Updated on

Donald Trump's campaign manager has been charged with simple battery after allegedly manhandling Breitbart reporter former Michelle Fields at an event in Jupiter, Florida.

Corey Lewandowski — who according to the police report lives in Trump Tower in New York City — turned himself in to police just after 8 a.m, the Palm Beach Post reported. Jupiter Police said he was released with a notice to appear in court.

"Mr. Lewandowski is absolutely innocent of this charge," his lawyers Scott Richardson and Kendall Coffey said in a statement. "He will enter a plea of not guilty and looks forward to his day in court." He's scheduled to appear on May 4.

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Jupiter police released this video of the incident:

Facebook: video.php

Still, Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that there was "nothing there."

Wow, Corey Lewandowski, my campaign manager and a very decent man, was just charged with assaulting a reporter. Look at tapes-nothing there!

Victory press conference was over. Why is she allowed to grab me and shout questions? Can I press charges?

Fields responded shortly after, saying Trump was "lying":

Because my story never changed. Seriously, just stop lying. https://t.co/1fz9cBHOuT

Trump continued to defend his campaign manager on Wednesday in an interview with the Today show. Instead of acknowledging that Lewandowski did in fact "touch" Fields, as seen in the video, he deflected the question and said that she touched him.

"She touched me. She grabbed me by the arm at least twice," Trump said.

He went on to say that Fields made up her story and called the incident "so minor" that he said Lewandowski might not have even thought about it after the fact.

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What does @RealDonaldTrump think of the Lewandowski charges? Watch what he told @MLauer & @SavannahGuthrie: https://t.co/nBADbJybRM

Katrina Pierson, a Trump spokesperson told CNN on Tuesday that Lewandowski will be staying on as campaign manager while the legal process plays out.

"We have total confidence in our campaign manager and we feel he is going to be exonerated," she said.

Fields said Lewandowski grabbed her arm and nearly threw her to the ground when she was covering an event at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida, on March 8. The incident caused multiple bruises on her arm, she said.

"Someone had grabbed me tightly by the arm and yanked me down," she wrote. "I almost fell to the ground, but was able to maintain my balance. Nonetheless, I was shaken."


The Washington Post'
s Ben Terris, who was also covering the event, supported Fields's story.

The Trump campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks insisted the accusations were "entirely false." She then blasted Fields for taking the issue to Twitter instead of directly to the campaign and insinuated she was a liar.

On March 11, about three days after the incident, Lewandowski tweeted directly at Fields disputing her allegations.

@MichelleFields you are totally delusional. I never touched you. As a matter of fact, I have never even met you.

Fields filed a police report with the Jupiter Police Department the same day. The next day, March 12, police officers obtained vide footage from Trump Security at Trump National, according to the arrest report.

According to the police report, the video parallels what Fields told officers.

"After extending his arm out, Lewandowski appeared to reach for Fields's left arm with his left hand, allowing him to get closer to Fields," the police report reads. "Lewandowski then grabbed Fields left arm with his right hand, causing her to turn and step back. This motion cleared a path for Lewandowski to walk past Fields, allowing him to "catch up" and get closer to Trump, who was walking during the entire incident."

Michelle Fields and Breitbart News editor-at-large Ben Shapiro have since resigned from the company over the site's handling of the incident.

Trump held a news conference on his plane to insist that Lewandowski did nothing wrong. Read the full account here.

He said he had not plans to fire Lewandowski and then went on to doubt Fields' statements to police.

"You were pushed around more getting on this plane right now than she was pushed around," he told reporters.

"I don't know if they were bruises from that," he said when asked about Fields telling police about the bruising. "How do you know those bruises weren't there before? I'm not a lawyer."

"Don't you think she would have yelled out a scream? … her facial expression doesn't even change," he said, regarding the video.

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Lewandowski was also scheduled to appear on Fox News later Tuesday evening, but the campaign canceled, Fox said:

Statement from Fox News on Lewandowski appearance

Update: A previous version of this post included a document that contained the address and phone number of Fields and Lewandowski. The document has since been removed.

Here's a timeline of BuzzFeed News' coverage of the incident and fallout:

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Tom Namako is the deputy news director for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Tom Namako at tom.namako@buzzfeed.com.

Mary Ann Georgantopoulos is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Mary Ann Georgantopoulos at maryann.georgantopoulos@buzzfeed.com.

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