Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields today filed a criminal complaint against Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, according to a source familiar with the alleged incident. This follows her assertion that she was grabbed by someone as she tried to pose a question to the Republican presidential front-runner as he left a Tuesday news conference.
She wrote Thursday in a Breitbart op-ed that after the alleged incident, a Washington Post reporter, Ben Terris, "immediately remarked that it was Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who aggressively tried to pull me to the ground."
Fields filed the formal police report with the Jupiter Police Department in Florida this morning, according to the source.
A police department incident report identifies Fields as an alleged victim and simple battery, "touch or strike," as the alleged crime. It does not name Lewandowski. The department also said in a news release this morning it is investigating an “alleged battery that occurred at 115 Eagle Tree Terrace (Trump National) on March 8, 2016. A police report was filed with the Jupiter Police Department on March 11, 2016 at approximately 10:00 a.m. and the investigation is ongoing.”
Fields’ apparent formal complaint of battery against Lewandowski comes after Trump denied that his campaign manager ever touched Fields, telling reporters Thursday night that "nothing happened" and suggesting that "perhaps she made the story up."
"We have many [protective agents] -- you see some of them here. When we left, I spoke to them. Nothing happened in my opinion when we left. Now, I didn't see anything. Now all of a sudden we heard about it later on. Now, the Secret Service said nothing happened," Trump told reporters.
Trump's comments echoed a statement from his campaign earlier Thursday that dismissed Fields' account as "entirely false" and suggested it may be part of a "larger pattern of exaggerating incidents" by the Breitbart reporter.
Trump campaign press secretary Hope Hicks said in a statement, "As one of dozens of individuals present as Mr. Trump exited the press conference I did not witness any encounter. In addition to our staff, which had no knowledge of said situation, not a single camera or reporter of more than 100 in attendance captured the alleged incident."
Lewandowski, on Twitter, denied the incident and called Fields an "attention seeker" and "totally delusional."
@MichelleFields you are totally delusional. I never touched you. As a matter of fact, I have never even met you.— Corey Lewandowski (@CLewandowski_) March 11, 2016
After the Trump campaign issued its statement denying Fields’ account as "entirely false," Fields shared a photo of her bruised arm and referred to Washington Post reporter Ben Terris , who identified Lewandowski as the person who grabbed Fields and corroborated her version of events in a Washington Post story published Thursday.
Terris wrote in the Post story that "I watched as a man with short-cropped hair and a suit grabbed her arm and yanked her out of the way. He was Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s 41-year-old campaign manager."
And in a Washington Post blog today, Terris continued to defend that “I saw what I saw” and said that he had his “eyes trained on Corey Lewandowski,” because he was there to profile the campaign team with a focus on the Trump campaign manager.
Fields also told ABC News Thursday that the Trump campaign's denial of her story has been "hurtful."
"Honestly, it's been really hurtful because, obviously, no one wants to be touched and violated like that," Fields said.
Fields said she initially didn't plan to file a formal complaint against Lewandowski, after she says her editor communicated with Lewandowski Tuesday night after the encounter and that Lewandowski said at the time he didn't know she was a Breitbart reporter.
"I called the Washington editor Matthew Boyle and told him about it and I explained to him what had just happened, and we hung up and then he called me afterwards and said he had spoken to Corey and Corey said that he didn't deny that, he said he didn't realize I was a Breitbart reporter," Fields said. "And that really scares me because it shouldn't matter whether I'm a friendly publication or if I'm not a friendly publication, he shouldn't put his hands on anyone at all."
Matthew Boyle declined to be interviewed for this story but a Breitbart spokesman said Fields “misinterpreted Matt’s telling of the interaction with Corey” and that Lewandowski “didn’t in any way” admit to grabbing Fields.
“There is no contradiction here, supporting Michelle is completely separate from a text conversation Matt had with Corey,” the spokesman said. “Clearly, there was a miscommunication between Matt and Michelle. Either Matt wasn’t clear or Michelle misinterpreted it.”
Breitbart CEO Larry Solov continued to stand by Fields in a statement this morning.
“Trump's suggestion that Fields made up the incident Tuesday evening contradicts the evidence, including her own injuries, an account from Washington Post reporter Ben Terris, and audio recorded at the scene," Solov said in the statement.
But within an hour of Solov's statement, Breitbart News also published a story that, while acknowledging Fields “was indeed hurt in the altercation,” also questions Terris’ identification of Trump’s campaign manager as the person who grabbed her, saying the altercation "could not possibly" have happened” as he reported it.
“Contrary to what Donald Trump said Thursday evening after the GOP debate, the incident certainly happened,” the Breitbart article says. “However, the person who made contact with Fields was likely not Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.”