Donald Trump's newly-appointed campaign CEO Steve Bannon was charged with assault in 1996 over an incident involving his then-wife, Mary Louise Piccard, who accused him of grabbing her by the neck and wrist and smashing the phone when she attempted to call the police.
After the incident, first reported by the New York Post, Piccard told police Bannon threatened her if she testified against him in court. Bannon was charged with domestic violence and battery but the case was later dismissed because Piccard declined to testify.
According to the report, police showed up at Bannon's Santa Monica home after Piccard called 911 and hung up. She was apparently "very upset and crying" and told police that Bannon "pulled her down as if he was trying to pull her into the car, over the door." She then said she broke free and was chased inside by Bannon.
Piccard told police that she and Bannon argued "a lot" but their fights had not been physical in four years. She and Bannon divorced after the incident. They have twin daughters.
Piccard later said that Bannon had told her "if I went to court he and his attorney would make sure that I would be the one who was guilty," according to the New York Times.
Bannon pleaded not guilty to the charges and maintains that he has a good relationship with his family. "The bottom line is he has a great relationship with the twins, he has a great relationship with the ex-wife, he still supports them," Bannon's spokesperson told Politico.
Bannon is Trump's third campaign chief since he began his quest for the White House in June 2015. Trump tapped Bannon less than two weeks ago, after his previous campaign manager, Paul Manafort, resigned. Manafort became embroiled in his own scandal after it was revealed he had worked for Ukraine's authoritarian president; Bannon's appointment was seen as part of an effort to refocus the campaign away from scandal and toward reaching out to minority and female voters.
Like many of Trump's top advisors, Bannon does not come from the typical world of political insiders. His experience was more in the entertainment and finance sectors before he became the head of the news website Breitbart, which he described as "platform for the alt-right."
Breitbart is known for promoting incendiary and often conspiratorial content. Some of Breitbart's headlines about women include "Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy," and "There's No Hiring Bias Against Women In Tech, They Just Suck At Interviews."
The Trump campaign has not released a statement regarding the allegations against Bannon and did not immediately respond to VICE News' request for comment.
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