Corey Lewandowski, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s campaign manager, has been charged with assaulting a female journalist at a campaign event. According to the police, Lewandowski grabbed former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields’ arms leaving a bruise when she tried to ask Trump a question after a news conference on March 8.
A video footage captured by a surveillance camera was released by the police. It showed Lewandowski trying to pull Fields away from Trump by her arms, as she tried to speak to him. The incident took place shortly after a press conference at the Trump National Golf Club.
“Mr. Lewandowski is absolutely innocent of this charge,” the Trump statement said, as quoted by the BBC. “He is completely confident that he will be exonerated.”
A campaign statement said that Lewandowski will be pleading not guilty. Trump defended his campaign manager saying that the video footage released by the police showed there was nothing.
“If you look at that tape he was very very seriously maligned, and I think it’s very unfair,” he said.
Trump said in another tweet that the reporter tried to grab him and ask questions after the conference was over.
“Victory press conference was over,” he wrote. “Why is she allowed to grab me and shout questions? Can I press charges?”
During an impromptu news conference on Tuesday aboard his plane, he defended Lewandowski saying that he is a fine person and only tried to act as an intermediary when the reporter tried to grab at him.
Trump’s Republican rivals criticised him for trying guard Lewandowski instead of reprimanding him.
“We probably would suspend somebody,” the Yahoo News quoted Ohio Governor John Kasich as saying. “That’s frankly totally and completely inappropriate. It could’ve been one of my daughters.”
When Texas Senator Ted Cruz was asked whether he would fire Lewandowski if he was in Trump’s place he replied, “Of course.”
Fields said in a blog post that she was trying to ask Trump a question when she was pulled by the arms and nearly thrown to the ground before Trump could answer.
“I quickly turned around and saw Lewandowski and Trump exiting the building together. No apology. No explanation for why he did this,” she wrote. “Even if Trump was done taking questions, Lewandowski would be out of line. Campaign managers aren’t supposed to try to forcefully throw reporters to the ground, no matter the circumstance.”