(April 13, 2016) — The state attorney’s office in Palm Beach County, Florida, will not prosecute Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski for battery, according to sources familiar with the case.
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.
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, the sources said.
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.
The Trump campaign 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.