Trump campaign manager charged with assaulting reporter

In new footage, the reporter (in cream jacket) is seen alongside Mr Trump before being held back

Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has been charged with assaulting a journalist at a campaign event.

Mr Lewandowski is charged with simple battery over his encounter with former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields.

On 8 March after a news conference in Florida, he allegedly grabbed her arm when she tried to ask a question and bruised her.

Mr Lewandowski plans to plead not guilty, the Trump campaign said.

Police in Jupiter, Florida, where he was arrested, issued Lewandowski a notice Tuesday, March 29, to appear before a judge on May 4 for the misdemeanor charge. A surveillance video released by the police appears to show Lewandowski grabbing a reporter for Breitbart News as she tried to ask Trump a question during a March 8 campaign event.

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The footage appears to show him trying to pull her out of the way as she walks alongside Mr Trump and tries to speak to him.

The Trump campaign said Lewandowski “is absolutely innocent of this charge” in a statement released late Tuesday morning.

“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. Fields showed police her left forearm which “appeared to show a grabbing-type injury,” according to the investigating officer.

The charge comes during a difficult time for Mr Trump, just ahead of next week’s Wisconsin primary where he is neck-and-neck with Senator Ted Cruz.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has just endorsed Mr Cruz for president.

He will participate in a CNN town hall event on Tuesday night when all three Republican contenders will face questions.

Mr Trump is currently well ahead in the Republican race with 739 delegates to Cruz’s 465.

Ohio Governor John Kasich is well behind with 143, with the 1,237 needed to win the nomination probably out of his reach.

In the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton will try in Wisconsin to stem the momentum of a resurgent Bernie Sanders, who is on a roll after a string of wins.

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