A singer and potential congressional candidate says she has filed a sexual assault complaint against Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, for hitting her twice on her buttocks at a Washington gathering in November.
Joy Villa, a Trump backer who wore a Make America Great Again dress at the Grammys this year, said on Tuesday she planned to meet detectives in Washington next week.
In a phone interview from Tampa, Florida, Villa said she was initially reluctant to come forward because she was worried about any backlash. But she said she called Washington’s metropolitan police department on Christmas Eve after a friend who witnessed the incident spoke about it publicly and other friends urged her to speak.
“I didn’t know him at all,” Villa said about Lewandowski. “I only knew him by reputation. He broke my trust.”
She said she saw Lewandowski at a gathering at the Trump International Hotel on the day after Thanksgiving, and said he struck her “extremely hard” even after she told him to stop. She said she felt it was “disgusting and shocking and demeaning”.
Villa, who is considering a run for a Florida congressional seat, said she initially thought it was sexual harassment but police told her touching someone on any body part that is sexual in nature constituted sexual assault. She said she was told it was classified as a misdemeanor.
“I was initially fearful to come forward with this,” she said, adding that she did not want to bring shame or embarrassment on Lewandowski’s family or hers. “I did nothing wrong. I realized if he’s not going to respond or apologize to me, I think it’s the right thing to do.”
This is not the first time Lewandowski has faced police charges. In March 2016 he was charged with misdemeanor battery for an altercation involving a female reporter after a news conference in Florida. The charges were later dropped.
Trump fired him as campaign manager in June 2016, after which he took on several roles as a TV political commentator before launching his own private “advisory” firm and being tied to various lobbying activities. Earlier this month he and fellow Trump campaign adviser David Bossie published a memoir, Let Trump Be Trump, which the president praised.
Trump has faced his own allegations of sexual assault from more than a dozen women, most of whom say the president either forcibly kissed or groped them. Trump has denied all such allegations.