Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was charged Tuesday with simple battery in connection with an incident earlier this month involving a reporter, according to Florida police.
A police spokesman in Jupiter, Florida, told the AFP that Lewandowski was arrested Tuesday morning and then released with a notice to appear before a judge on May 4 for the misdemeanor charge.
Shortly after charges were filed, the Trump campaign issued a statement saying Lewandowski "is absolutely innocent of this charge".
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The statement added that Lewandowski “will enter a plea of not guilty and looks forward to his day in court".
"He is completely confident that he will be exonerated," the statement added.
A police report obtained by The Associated Press included an interview with the reporter, Michelle Fields, who worked for Breitbart News at the time.
"Lewandowski grabbed Fields' left arm with his right hand causing her to turn and step back," reads the report. Fields showed police her left forearm which "appeared to show a grabbing-type injury", according to the investigating officer.
Rowdiness and physical contact
Simultaneously, the police department released a video showing the incident between Fields and Lewandowski. Unlike in previous videos of the conference released by news networks, Fields and Lewandowski are not obscured by bystanders in the new video.
The video shows Fields walking alongside Trump, then Lewandowski grabbing her arm and pulling her backward.
Trump's rallies across the US have been marked by rowdiness and physical contact between protesters and either his supporters or security personnel.
Lewandowski was charged with simple battery, defined under Florida law as intentionally touching or striking a person against their will. For a first offense, it is a misdemeanor in the first degree, which carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison or a fine of $1,000 (about 889 euros).
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)
Date created : 2016-03-29