Politico has learned that Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, will not be prosecuted for battery following a minor altercation with former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields.
Fields says she may still file a defamation lawsuit against Lewandowski.
Many lawyers said they just didn’t think jurors would think of this case as a battery, even though it met the technical threshold for the crime under Florida law, which essentially defines battery as unwanted touching.
“If you asked people to describe a battery, this certainly wouldn’t cut it. No injury, no damage, no nothing,” said veteran Miami criminal defense lawyer David Oscar Markus, who earlier this month successfully defended former Baltimore Orioles outfielder Delmon Young in a battery case involving a Miami valet.
“Not every minor interaction needs to go to court. Time for everyone to chill out,” he said. “Jeb Bush has a better claim for battery against Trump after those debates than this reporter does against Lewandowski.”
Despite the appearance of a small incident, the Lewandowski case had big ramifications.
Fields, along with at least six other colleagues, resigned from Breitbart after the incident, saying the conservative-website known for its pro-Trump slant was not properly supporting her. Fields was also forced to flee her home and at one point, Washington, D.C. because of death threats she received after several news organizations accidentally published Lewandowski’s full police report, which included Fields’ personal contact information.
Initially, Trump, Lewandowski and his campaign questioned whether the incident even took place, saying Fields was attention-seeking and questioning her character. Following the charges filed by police, Trump began test-driving what was likely a factor in the prosecutor’s decision to not pursue the case: Claiming that Fields touched him first.
Trump also said she was where she shouldn’t have been by slipping inside the perimeter of Secret Service agents who were in charge of protecting him. An anonymous Secret Service agent told DailyMail.com that Fields was told to stay away from Trump.
In making those statements, Trump helped lay the foundation for Lewandowski to raise a “defense of others” argument, which allows someone to forcibly grab another person if he or she is somewhere prohibited and poses a potential threat.
Aronberg made clear to POLITICO that he had watched at least one Trump interview by FOX’s Sean Hannity where Trump had subtly raised this “defense of others” doctrine. In deciding whether to prosecute, Aronberg’s office would take into account the potential success of Trump raising this argument in court.
So ends a ridiculous distraction from the campaign. Why Fields tried to make a criminal case out of this incident is beyond me. Lewandowski, from all reports, is a putz. But Fields, who apparently is anti-Trump, tried to game the legal system to create what she believed might be a damaging incident for the candidate. Trump tried his best to be a cad and a boor, but considering some of the other things he’s said while campaigning, his sneering attacks on Fields didn’t gain any traction.
Apparently, Fields is no ray of sunshine herself. Greta Van Susteren of Fox News suggested she not file a civil suit for defamation. Her response was Trump-like:
“Anyone encouraging Michelle Fields to bring a civil lawsuit is not doing her a favor,” Van Susteren wrote in a post on her website. “She does not want to take the stand in a civil case, subject to rigorous cross examination, that is likely to be on television to discuss a case that the DA won’t prosecute because he does not believe the evidence shows assault. Yes, the burden of proof is less in a civil case, but she is just not going to win, and it will be expensive and a heartache.”
Van Susteren added, “Anyone encouraging this young woman to bring a lawsuit is irresponsible to her.”
Fields fired back on Twitter, writing, “I think I’ll pass on getting legal advice from a Trump shill. Thanks tho.”
Responding to this article on Twitter, Van Susteren, a former lawyer, tweeted Thursday morning, “this is silly-I relied on years of experience in court system,she relies on name calling :)”
I suppose we can give up on talking about anything serious in this campaign. Why should we when it’s so much fun to engage in all this other crap?