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Trump campaign manager charged with battery for incident with reporter

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JUPITER, Fla., March 29 (UPI) — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump‘s campaign manager has been charged with misdemeanor battery after surveillance footage appeared to confirm a reporter’s accusation he forcefully grabbed her following a press conference.

The incident happened in Florida when Michelle Fields, 28, formerly a reporter for conservative news outlet Breitbart News Network, attempted to ask Trump a question as he crossed the floor of the Trump National Golf Club amid a media scrum. Newly released video appears to show Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, 41, grabbing Fields and pulling her away from the candidate. The security video was released by police in Jupiter, Fla., where the Trump event was held.

Lewandowski and Trump both denied the accusations and said Fields made up the allegations to get attention. On March 11, Lewandowski tweeted “@MichelleFields you are totally delusional. I never touched you. As a matter of fact, I have never even met you.”

A reporter for The Washington Post corroborated Fields’ account of the incident at the time. Fields herself tweeted photos of her arm, showing bruises she said were a result of Lewandowski grabbing her.

I guess these just magically appeared on me @CLewandowski_@realDonaldTrump. So weird.

— Michelle Fields (@MichelleFields) March 10, 2016

Lewandowski turned himself in to Jupiter, Fla., police Tuesday morning on the misdemeanor charge, the Palm Beach Post reported.

Trump responded to the arrest on Twitter, supporting Lewandowski, calling him a “vey decent man” and urging people to watch the video themselves because there’s “nothing there.”

“He will enter a plea of not guilty and looks forward to his day in court. He is completely confident that he will be exonerated,” Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in a statement.

Fields has since resigned her position at Breitbart, a site that is widely seen as supporting Trump’s presidential bid, after she said the news outlet abandoned her when they posted several contradictory stories about the incident.

Fields and several other staff members quit Breitbart in the wake of the news outlet’s handling of the incident.

Trump’s campaign said Lewandowski has retained veteran Florida attorney Kendall Coffey, who represented Al Gore during the 2000 Florida recount.


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