News Americas

Saturday 24 September 2016

Trump campaign boss charged with assault

Nick Allen

Published 30/03/2016 | 02:30

Campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, left, listens as Donald Trump speaks in Palm
Beach, Florida (Photo: AP)
Campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, left, listens as Donald Trump speaks in Palm Beach, Florida (Photo: AP)
Secretary of State John Kerry (Photo: Reuters)

Florida police last night charged Donald Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski with simple battery in connection with an incident earlier this month involving a female reporter.

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Police in Jupiter, Florida, issued Lewandowski with a notice yesterday to appear before a judge on May 4 for the misdemeanour charge.

A surveillance video released by the police appears to show Mr Lewandowski grabbing a reporter for Breitbart News as she tried to ask Mr Trump a question during a March 8 campaign event.

The Trump campaign said Mr Lewandowski "is absolutely innocent of this charge" in a statement released on yesterday.

"He will enter a plea of not guilty and looks forward to his day in court," said the statement. "He is completely confident that he will be exonerated."

A police report obtained by The Associated Press includes 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. Ms Fields showed police her left forearm which "appeared to show a grabbing-type injury", according to the investigating officer.

The charge comes one week ahead of a key primary in Wisconsin. Trump, who was set to campaign there late yesterday, has spent recent days feuding with rival Ted Cruz over the treatment of their wives in the race, and Trump made comments on Monday suggesting he is trying to address his vulnerability among women voters.

Yesterday, Mr Trump found himself being ridiculed after claiming that he alone can solve the worldwide problem of Islamic extremism in the wake of the devastating Easter Sunday suicide bombing in Pakistan.

Mr Trump also claimed that he "knew more about Brussels than Brussels knew" and had predicted last week's terror attack in the Belgian capital.

The Republican presidential front-runner's latest comments on foreign policy also included calling President Barack Obama "insane" for wanting to welcome Syrian refugees, and a claim that doing so would lead to the "downfall" of the United States.

On Easter Sunday, dozens of people were killed and hundreds injured when a Taliban splinter group targeted a park in Lahore. Hours later, Mr Trump said: "Another radical Islamic attack, this time in Pakistan, targeting Christian women and children. At least 67 dead, 400 injured. I alone can solve."

The billionaire later added: "I knew more about Brussels than Brussels knew. I was the one that predicted this was going to happen in Brussels and was criticised for it, and now everyone is saying I was right."

Mr Trump was mocked on social media for his "sheer ego". One user said: "You are not Christ."

Meanwhile, John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, said world leaders he talked to had been "shocked" by the Republican presidential race.

The contest has featured a series of foreign policy statements by Mr Trump targeting immigrants and Muslims.

He has called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US, would bar new Syrian refugees, and "send back" those who have already arrived.

Mr Kerry said: "It's clear to me that what's happening is an embarrassment to our country."

Responding on Monday, Mr Trump attacked Mr Kerry, America's top diplomat, over his support for accepting Syrian refugees. Mr Trump said: "I'm shocked by him, I'm shocked by his policy of open door, I'm shocked by just about everything he's done. This open door policy is catastrophic, this could lead to the downfall of the greatest nation on Earth."

At the weekend, Mr Obama called for "openness to refugees fleeing Isil's violence" and recognition that "our most important partners are American Muslims".

But Mr Trump said: "It is disgraceful that he could say this, and especially when he talks about coming in from the Middle East, frankly even more so, where they're undocumented.

"It is just insane what this man is saying. I can't even believe that he's saying it, it's inconceivable that he's saying it."

In Mexico, effigies of Mr Trump were burned in public squares in several cities in the annual Easter 'Burning of Judas' ritual. Effigies of Mr Obama and drug lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman were also burned.

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