West Palm Beach: Donald Trump's campaign manager won't be prosecuted for battery after briefly grabbing a female reporter's arm at a campaign event, but prosecutors have said the situation might have been avoided with two simple words: I'm sorry.
State Attorney Dave Aronberg said at a news conference there wasn't enough evidence to justify bringing misdemeanor simple battery charges against Corey Lewandowski for the 8 March dustup with Michelle Fields, then a reporter for the conservative Breitbart News website.
Although Lewandowski's act wasn't criminal, Aronberg said there may have been an easy way to defuse things.
"In a case like this we do encourage an apology. Had an apology been given at the beginning of all this, we could have avoided the whole criminal justice process," Aronberg said.
Although police in Jupiter, Florida, found enough probable cause to charge Lewandowski last month after viewing a video recording of the encounter, Aronberg said prosecutors are held to a higher legal standard.
"We have the burden of proving each case beyond a reasonable doubt," he said.
In a Thursday night appearance on "Hannity" on Fox News, Lewandowski thanked Trump for supporting him and said the decision to drop the charges was a relief.
"This has really taken over a big piece of my life, and I'm glad it's behind us," he said.
Lewandowski denied grabbing Fields and Republican front-runner Trump stood by him, rejecting calls by his opponents to fire or discipline him. Instead, he went after Fields, accusing her of exaggerating and changing her story.
Not backing down, Fields tweeted a photograph of her bruised forearm and said she had been yanked backward. The investigation proved that Lewandowski "pulled Ms Fields back" as she attempted to interview Trump, according to a memo by another prosecutor, Chief Assistant State Attorney Adrienne Ellis.
The memo says Lewandowski could have believed Fields was "making unwanted physical contact with Mr Trump" that led him to pull her away.
"Mr Lewandowski may have had apparent authority to assist in the protection of the candidate, specifically to maintain the 'protective bubble' around the candidate," Ellis wrote.
"While the facts support the allegation that Mr. Lewandowski did grab Ms Fields' arm against her will, Mr Lewandowski has a reasonable hypothesis of innocence." Ellis added that the video showed Trump moving his arm away
from Fields' initial contact, but said that didn't constitute battery either. "It was incidental," she said.
First Published On : Apr 15, 2016 10:44 IST