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Donald Trump Campaign Manager Charged With Battery for Grabbing Reporter

Corey Lewandowski Donald Trump
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was charged with simple battery on Tuesday in connection with a March 8 incident with a reporter for Breitbart News.

Police in Jupiter, Fla., issued a notice for Lewandowski to appear in court on May 4 for the misdemeanor charge. A Trump campaign spokeswoman said that Lewandowski “is absolutely innocent of this charge.”

A surveillance video released by Jupiter police appeared to show Lewandowski grabbing toward the reporter, Michelle Fields, as she attempted to ask Trump a question following a press conference. She then appears to be pulled backward. Trump had his back turned away from both Lewandowski and Fields.

After the news broke, Trump tweeted, “Wow, Corey Lewandowski, my campaign manager and a very decent man, was just charged with assaulting a reporter. Look at tapes — nothing there!”

Trump added, “Why aren’t people looking at this reporter’s earliest statement as to what happened, that is before she found out the episode was on tape?”

In response, Fields sent her own tweet. “Because my story never changed. Seriously, just stop lying.”

The Trump campaign also challenged initial reports that Lewandowski had been arrested, claiming that he was just charged.

“Mr. Lewandowski was issued a Notice to Appear and was given a court date,” Trump’s campaign said in a statement. “He was not arrested. Mr. Lewandowski is absolutely innocent of this charge. 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.”

“This is absurd, it is ridiculous and it will be beat,” Katrina Pierson, a spokeswoman for the campaign, said on CNN. She said the campaign would stand by Lewandowski through the process.

Lewandowski called the reporter “delusional” in a March 10 tweet.

“Michelle Fields you are totally delusional. I never touched you. As a matter of fact, I have never even met you,” he wrote.

Fields tweeted earlier that day, “I guess these just magically appeared on me,” with a picture of bruises on her arm.

Fields then filed a police report.

Trump is scheduled to appear at a CNN town hall on Tuesday night. But in a tweet, he criticized the network for “one-sided and unfair reporting.” “Maybe I shouldn’t do their town hall tonight!”

John Weaver, senior strategist for John Kasich’s presidential campaign, wrote on Twitter that “campaigns reflect the values of the candidate. I know ours does. If this bully worked for John Kasich, he would have been fired long ago.”

Cruz told reporters, “The is a consequence of the culture of the Trump campaign, the abusive culture.”

Update: Trump tweeted further attacks on the charge against Lewandowski.

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

He also tweeted photos of their exchange.