Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump will not be facing charges of inciting violence following an incident at a Fayetteville, North Carolina, rally last week in which a protester was sucker-punched.
After a careful review of the evidence, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office announced in a statement Monday night that “the evidence does not meet the requisites of the law as established under the relevant North Carolina statute and case law to support a conviction of the crime of inciting a riot,” according to local CBS affiliate WTVR News 6.
The statement continued, “Accordingly, we will not be seeking a warrant or indictment against Mr. Trump or his campaign for these offenses.”
MSNBC had reported earlier in the day that the sheriff’s office was considering charging Trump based on comments he’d made during his speech at the rally.
JUST IN: North Carolina police considering filing charges against Trump for potentially inciting a riot https://t.co/gQjG8N6tXP
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 14, 2016
Police arrested 78-year-old John McGraw and charged him with assault on protester Rakeem Jones after multiple videos surfaced online showing McGraw attempting to punch Jones, hitting him in the face with his elbow.
Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks flatly rejected the premise of the investigation into Trump’s role in the violent altercation earlier Monday before the sheriff decided not to pursue charges.
“It is the protesters and agitators who are in violation, not Mr. Trump or the campaign,” Hicks said Monday in a statement.
Hicks said that the protesters “in some cases … used foul language, screamed vulgarities and made obscene gestures, annoying the very well behaved audience.”
“The people that stood were loud, rude and abrasive. On one occasion, while the police were escorting a young man out of the arena, he seemed to lift his hand and make an obscene gesture. We are told a 78-year-old man took great exception to this,” Hicks said, referring to McGraw’s alleged assault.
Trump told NBC News’ “Face the Nation” host Chuck Todd Sunday that he was considering paying McGraw’s legal expenses.
Watch the video of the incident.
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