WASHINGTON, April 3 (UPI) -- Days after he was charged with misdemeanor battery after grabbing a reporter during a press event, Corey Lewandowski, campaign manager to Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, may see his role in the campaign reduced.
A report by Politico said Lewandowski has also faced complaints over his strict handling of the candidate from junior staff members, who said Lewandowski tightly controls access to Trump and has developed a gruff relationship with other top Trump aides.
Lewandowski was charged with battery by police in Jupiter, Fla., after Michelle Fields, a former reporter for the conservative Breitbart news outlet, said Lewandowski grabbed her by the arm and yanked her hard enough to leave bruises. A Washington Post reporter backed up Fields' claims, but Lewandowski said afterward on Twitter that Fields was lying and called her "delusional." Lewandowski said he had "never even met" Fields, much less assaulted her.
Trump then backed up Lewandowski's version of events and said Fields was making up the claim.
Several days later, security video surfaced of the incident, which clearly showed Lewandowski grabbing Fields as she walked beside Trump on his way across the floor of the Mar-a-Lago club after a rally and press event.
Trump stood by Lewandowski in the wake of his being charged, calling him a "very decent man" despite calls from across the political spectrum for him to be fired.
Politico and CNN both reported Lewandowski still holds the title campaign manager, but a veteran Republican political strategist, Paul Manafort, is taking a leading role in plotting campaign strategy. Manafort, who has worked on Republican residential campaigns dating back to the 1970s, was originally brought in to handle Trump's convention delegate strategy. Now, Politico reports, he will also take an active role in plotting campaign strategy through the remaining primaries and caucuses on the schedule.
Trump's national field director had already taken over responsibility for many of the hiring decisions as the campaign expands into a 50-state apparatus as the primary season winds down.