IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Are charges against Donald Trump's campaign manager valid? The 2 sides debate

The attorney for Donald Trump aide Corey Lewandowski and a former editor close to the reporter he grabbed discuss the incident.
/ Source: TODAY

A day after Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was arrested on misdemeanor battery charges for his treatment of a reporter, Lewandowski's attorney indicated that the incident was overblown.

The charge stems from an incident in which Lewandowski grabbed former Breitbart News Service reporter Michelle Fields at a news conference at Trump National Golf Club on March 8. Fields described being yanked on the arm and suffering bruising while almost falling, which Lewandowski's attorney, Brad Cohen, disputed.

"It doesn't look anything like that in real time,'' Cohen said on TODAY Wednesday. "It doesn't look anything like that in slow motion. It does look like there was contact. It is an incident that I don't believe Corey thought was anything. I don't think anyone that was present thought [it] was anything.''

Cohen contended that Lewandowski was simply reacting to what he perceived was a threat to Trump's safety. Another video of Lewandowski grabbing a person at a Trump rally by the collar has also emerged, leading to questions of why he has put his hands on people multiple times at Trump events.

"Corey is an ex-New Hampshire trooper,'' Cohen said. "If he sees a threat, or if he sees something that is unnormal (sic) or something that is irregular, he thinks that he can take action. It's not just the job of the Secret Service. Everyone is responsible for Mr. Trump's security."

In a phone interview on TODAY Wednesday, Trump said Fields "made up this story" and "has got no evidence."

Fields' former editor at Breitbart, Ben Shapiro, believes the video of the incident vindicates her claims, which Lewandowski initially lied about in a tweet refuted by the footage. Shapiro believes the current situation could have been avoided.

"All she wanted was an apology from Lewandowski and the Trump campaign,'' Shapiro said on TODAY Wednesday. "Instead they decided to lie and they decided to smear her. And then they decided to lie about lying, and now they're lying about the lies that they lied about — so we're now all the way through the looking glass on this story"

The incident is now past the point of apology, according to Shapiro.

"I think that that would probably be insufficient, but look it's up to the police to determine whether they think that the charges are meritorious or not,'' he said. "Regardless of what anyone thinks about the severity or the non-severity of the incident, the real story here is the Trump campaign's obviously stupid decision not to immediately admit something had gone wrong, apologize and move beyond it, instead deciding to go after Michelle personally and lie about the incident."

Lewandowski is due in Palm Beach County Circuit Court on May 4 and could face a year in jail if convicted.

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.