Do­mes­tic abuse re­port sur­faces against Ban­non

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD - By Michael Fin­negan, Matt Pearce and Joseph Serna — As­so­ci­ated Press

LOS AN­GE­LES — Don­ald Trump’s ef­fort to over­come his deep un­pop­u­lar­ity among fe­male vot­ers was dealt a set­back Fri­day as decades-old do­mes­tic vi­o­lence al­le­ga­tions sur­faced against Stephen Ban­non, the con­tro­ver­sial new CEO of his cam­paign.

In Jan­uary 1996, Ban­non grabbed his wife’s wrist and neck, then smashed a phone when she tried to call 911 from their home in Santa Mon­ica, Calif., ac­cord­ing to a po­lice re­port.

Po­lice pho­tographed “red marks on her left wrist and the right side of her neck,” the re­port said.

Years ear­lier, three or four other ar­gu­ments also “be­came phys­i­cal,” Ban­non’s wife, Mary Louise Pic­card, told po­lice. The cou­ple di­vorced soon af­ter the 1996 al­ter­ca­tion.

Po­lice charged Ban­non with mis­de­meanor do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, bat­tery and dis­suad­ing a wit­ness. Ban­non pleaded not guilty, records show. The charges were ul­ti­mately dropped when Pic­card did not show up in court, ac­cord­ing to Politico and the New York Post, which first re­ported the case.

De­tails of the case emerged hours af­ter Trump’s Demo­cratic ri­val, Hil­lary Clin­ton, faulted him for hir­ing Ban­non last week in the lat­est shake-up of his cam­paign’s high com­mand.

Clin­ton por­trayed Ban­non as a right-wing ex­trem­ist who pro­moted racist, “anti-Mus­lim, anti-im­mi­grant, anti-women” ideas as chair­man of the Bre­it­bart News Net­work web­site. Ban­non, 62, has taken a leave from Bre­it­bart to serve as CEO of the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee’s The al­le­ga­tions against Stephen Ban­non, the new CEO of Don­ald Trump’s cam­paign, date to a 1996 al­ter­ca­tion.

Clin­ton cal­en­dars still to come

Seven months af­ter a fed­eral judge or­dered the State De­part­ment to be­gin re­leas­ing monthly batches of the de­tailed daily sched­ules show­ing meet­ings by Hil­lary Clin­ton dur­ing her time as sec­re­tary of state, the govern­ment said it won’t fin­ish the job be­fore Elec­tion Day.

So far, about half of the sched­ules have been re­leased. The State De­part­ment’s lawyers said that it ex­pects to re­lease the last of the sched­ules around Dec. 30. cam­paign.

The Trump cam­paign did not re­spond to in­quiries about the po­lice re­port.

Alexan­dra Preate, Ban­non’s spokes­woman at Bre­it­bart, de­clined to com­ment on the spe­cific al­le­ga­tions, apart from point­ing out that the charges were dis­missed.

The abuse al­le­ga­tions against Ban­non sur­faced as Clin­ton and her al­lies have been high­light­ing Trump’s his­tory of deroga­tory re­marks about women. Clin­ton led Trump among fe­male vot­ers 58-35 per­cent in a Wash­ing­ton Post/ABC News poll at the be­gin­ning of Au­gust, and 60 per­cent of those polled over­all said they saw Trump as bi­ased against women and mi­nori­ties.

If Trump had vet­ted Ban­non be­fore hir­ing him, his ex- wife’s ac­cu­sa­tions should have been dis­quali- fy­ing, said Katie Packer, who was deputy cam­paign man­ager for Mitt Rom­ney’s 2012 cam­paign for pres­i­dent and led an ef­fort to block Trump from get­ting the GOP nom­i­na­tion.

“Given the ques­tions that women al­ready have about how Trump views women and how he has treated women his­tor­i­cally, el­e­vat­ing some­one like this to such a high po­si­tion only re­in­forces the idea that Trump doesn’t re­spect and value women,” she said.

But Char­lie Black, a GOP strate­gist who has in­for­mally ad­vised the Trump cam­paign, said the al­le­ga­tions against Ban­non fell into a “gray area” be­cause the charges were dropped.

Pic­card, who was Ban­non’s sec­ond wife, did not re­spond to a phone mes­sage seek­ing com­ment.

GER­ALD HERBERT/AP

KIRK IR­WIN/SIR­IUS XM

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