Donald Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has been charged with simple battery for allegedly grabbing and bruising Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields earlier this month. The police in Jupiter, Florida, issued the controversial campaign operative a "notice to appear" for the misdemeanor on Tuesday, as the New York Times reports.
The charges stem from an incident at a Trump event back on March 8, where Fields says Lewandowski grabbed her arm as she approached the candidate to ask him a question. According to POLITCO, Fields filed a police report with the Jupiter PD, claiming Lewandowski left her with bruises. Along with three other employees of the conservative outlet, Fields then resigned from Breitbart, which seemed to side with the Republican frontrunner.
Trump flatly denied Fields's claim during a GOP debate, saying she made it all up. The Trump camp backed Lewandowski again in a statement released Tuesday, saying he plans to plead not guilty and is "completely confident that he'll be exonerated."
The problem for Team Trump is that it's not like this charge came out of nowhere. His events are not known for being peaceful gatherings, especially when it comes to reporters covering them. A Secret Service agent was filmed aggressively slamming TIME photographer Chris Morristo to the ground at an event in Virginia last month, and NPR is reportedly offering its correspondents "Trump training" to prepare them for the rowdy events.
In this case, a Washington Post reporter witnessed the encounter, and still images appear to corroborate Fields's claim. Whether his top campaign aide being charged with attacking a journalist will drag down the Trump juggernaut, of course, remains to be seen.
Photo via Flickr user Gage Skidmore