Earlier this month, Michelle Fields, a reporter for Breitbart News, reported having been grabbed by Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski after an event for the candidate in Jupiter, Fla. The Washington Post's Ben Terris was there and saw it happen; Fields's arm was bruised by the incident, and she tweeted photos of the bruises a couple of days later.
But then something even more odd happened. Lewandowski denied it. Vehemently.
@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
He retweeted news stories casting doubt on Fields's story, aided by the fact that the only footage that existed was, at best, sketchy. (He was also aided by exaggerations of Fields's original claim; at no point was it suggested that she'd been pulled to the ground.)
Police in Jupiter appear to have obtained surveillance footage from inside the ballroom where the event and the incident occurred. There's no question that Fields was not, in fact, "delusional."
To make that more obvious, here's a GIF of the incident.
Lewandowski lied. It's as simple as that. And as is so often the case in politics, the attempt at a coverup will end up doing more damage than the incident itself. Had Lewandowski apologized, owned up to it, it's not clear that Fields would have gone to the police. On social media, Trump supporters regularly argued that Fields shouldn't be believed because she hadn't filed a report.
And then she did. On Tuesday, Jupiter police issued Lewandowski a "notice to appear" on apparent battery charges. He turned himself in.
Most baffling, of course, was that Lewandowski thought he would get away with it. For that we have no explanation.
Trump stands by his man. "Mr. Lewandowski is absolutely innocent of this charge. He will enter a plea of not guilty and looks forward to his day in court," campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in a statement.
"He is completely confident that he will be exonerated."
Of the crime. His guilt on the lie has already been established.