Trump’s Campaign Manager Won’t Be Prosecuted Over Battery Claim

Politics
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Palm Beach County Florida State Attorney David Aronberg will not prosecute Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, Aronberg announced Thursday.

Corey Lewandowski, campaign manager for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, speaks at the Mar-A-Lago Club on March 11, 2016 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Corey Lewandowski, campaign manager for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, speaks at the Mar-A-Lago Club on March 11, 2016 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“As state attorney I have made the decision that this office will not be filing charges against Corey Lewandowski for battery,” Aronberg said at a news conference.

A former reporter for Breitbart, Michelle Fields, sought charges against Lewandowski after an incident in March where she said Lewandowski pulled her away from Trump as she was trying to ask him a question.

After reviewing the evidence in the case, the state attorney said he doesn’t feel there is enough evidence to pursue criminal charges.

Court documents say in part, “Although there was probable cause to make an arrest, the evidence cannot prove all legally required elements of the crime alleged and is insufficient to support a criminal prosecution.”

The news is a sigh of relief for both Lewandowski and the Trump campaign, which risked facing a major legal distraction during the heat of the competitive presidential campaign.

The incident at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on March 8, the night of the Michigan presidential primary, led to a weeks-long dispute between the Trump campaign, some media outlets and Fields, as to what actually happened.

Politico first reported that Lewandowski would not be charged.

Fields may still seek defamation charges against Lewandowski based on his efforts to dismiss her claims and cast doubt on her integrity, according to one source.

In response to the reports the charges would be dropped, Fields tweeted: “Prosecutor’s office told me they would inform me of decision tomorrow. If reports true, guess they decided to leak to reporters first. Ugly.”

Earlier this week, the state attorney’s office tried to broker a deal in which Lewandowski would agree to publicly apologize to Fields instead of facing prosecution, one source with knowledge of the situation said. While Fields agreed to the offer, it’s not yet clear that Lewandowski did.

Fields added: “For those asking, office of prosecutor asked 2 weeks ago if I’d be ok with an apology from Corey. I said ya but haven’t heard back about it.”

The Trump campaign, Lewandowsky’s attorney and the state’s attorney’s office declined to comment on Wednesday evening.

Trump has stood by his aide, initially saying he thought the allegations were made up, but multiple videos of the encounter appeared to show Lewandowski pulling Fields’ arm.

“I would have loved to have fired him,” Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper during a town hall event in March. “It would have been much easier than talking to you about this all night long … I don’t want to ruin (Lewandowski’s) life.”

Trump attributed Lewandowski’s actions to security concerns.

“She had a pen in her hand, which Secret Service is not liking because they don’t know what it is, whether it’s a little bomb,” he said.

Trump also forcefully rejected calls from his rivals to suspend or fire Lewandowski, saying Wednesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” that “The other candidates, they said, ‘Oh, I should fire him.’ That’s because they’re weak, ineffective people. They want to be politically correct. I don’t want to be politically correct. I want to be correct.”

Fields, who was a reporter for Breitbart at the time, resigned from the conservative news outlet one week later, along with other staffers.

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