Marlow Stern from the Daily Beast pointed out in his latest article that even Bill Maher thinks the charges against Donald Trump’s campaign manager are horseshit. This fascinated me because Maher and Trump don’t get along at all. But as I read the article I was even more fascinated by Stern’s line of reasoning regarding the crime of “simple battery”. If prosecutors around the country started defining “simple battery” as merely touching someone I am worried about the future of journalism.
Stern explained that Maher was confused about what Lewandowski was charged with — and he was completely right — explaining that Lewandowski wasn’t charged with assault as Maher suggested, but instead, “simple battery.”
According to Section 784.03 in the Florida Statutes, “battery” is defined as, “1) Any actual and intentional touching or striking of another person against that person’s will (non-consensual), or 2) the intentional causing of bodily harm to another person.” The offense is branded “simple battery” if “there are no aggravating factors or enhancements at play,” e.g. a weapon, serious bodily injury, or domestic abuse.
Stern explains that based on his interpretation of the statute Lewandowski clearly committed “simple battery”. So it made me wonder if ANYONE who grabbed or shoved someone at a press event would be guilty as well? Are hundreds of crimes going unpunished on a daily basis in Flordia?
THE MEDIA SCRUM
Journalists call the action around candidates the “media scrum”. Roland de Courson explains the scrum well in his story on how to survive a media scrum, “I saw fellow reporters wearing ties and elegant loafers turn into a horde of ferocious beasts, pushing, kicking, nearly biting, to get their hands on a press statement.” In his article, Courson gives several examples including one with AFP reporter, Chloé Chauvris, who suffered five displaced vertebrae at one event. No one was charged.
If you’ve had the chance to watch the video of Lewandowski committing the crime of “simple battery” you might have noticed that Michelle Fields committed the same crime moments earlier against Donald Trump. See below:
Will she be prosecuted? Of course not — because it is NOT battery despite Stern’s interpretation of Florida state law. Based on Stern’s interpretation reporters wouldn’t be able to do their job if prosecutors actually enforced it.
Furthermore, it would be wrong not to mention the fact that Michelle has a history of claims related to being virtually, physically, or sexually assaulted. Here are a few examples:
In 2011, Michelle Fields claimed that she was assaulted by the NYPD during the Occupy Protests.
In 2011, Michelle Fields claimed that she was sexually assaulted by her coworker at the Students for Liberty organization.
In 2012, Michelle Fields claimed she was harassed by another reporter during a Bilderberg event.
In 2015, Michelle Fields claimed that Leonardo DiCaprio manhandled her during a protest march. Video shows she WAS the victim of “simple battery” by his bodyguard, but also shows Leo was innocent.
In 2015, Michelle Fields claimed that Congressman Allen West sexually assaulted her and then recanted.
In 2016, Michelle Fields claimed that Charles Johnson, the editor in chief of Got News hacked into her computer after he sent her a LinkedIn request.
The reality is that Michelle Field’s is a young and ambitious reporter looking for her 15 minutes of fame. What happened to Michelle has happened to EVERY reporter at one point in their career. Should Trump’s campaign manager have grabbed her arm? No. Was it a crime. No.