Politico talked to a friend of Villa’s who saw what happened and corroborated her account. According to Villa, a Trump superfan, she and Lewandowski were at a holiday party in late November at the Trump hotel in D.C. when she went over and asked for a photo with him. He seemed standoffish so she backed off, but then another partygoer nudged her towards him and the photo was duly taken…
Here’s the photo of @CLewandowski_ seconds before he slapped my ass, I told him to stop, and then he did it again. I was shocked and embarrassed by his behavior. https://t.co/61EYvOG4e9 pic.twitter.com/a8NgLnvCEZ
— Joy Villa (@Joy_Villa) December 23, 2017
…at which point Lewandowski smacked her right on the ass. “I said, ‘Watch it.’ Half-joking, I said, ‘I can report you for sexual harassment,” Villa told Politico. To which Lewandowski allegedy replied, “Go ahead, I work in the private sector” — and smacked her ass again.
Villa said the whole incident with Lewandowski was over before she had a chance to collect her thoughts. “Corey laughed in my face and ran away,” she said. “It felt like it was all a big joke to him.”
“It was the most ridiculous thing I have ever experienced,” Villa added. “It was shocking and gross.” Villa said she had been enjoying herself at the party. But after the experience with Lewandowski, she said she felt deflated. “It was like my bubble burst,” she said. “It’s how every woman feels when she is sexually harassed.”
It took nearly a month for her to reveal publicly what happened because, she says, “I did feel that Corey could badmouth me. I thought, ‘What if this messes up my chances.’” She’s thinking of running for Congress and she’s a rare pro-Trump celebrity, which puts her in the White House’s good graces, but all of that could be ruined by making an enemy of Lewandowski. So, she claims, she reached out to him privately for an apology, willing to let the matter drop if he showed some contrition. No reply. Eventually Politico came calling after hearing about the incident from a third party and she confirmed what happened.
And now she’s talking to the cops:
Singer Joy Villa, a Donald Trump supporter, has filed a police report against former Trump presidential campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who she says sexually assaulted her at the Trump International Hotel in Washington…
“I just spoke with the detective and it officially qualifies as sexual assault,” Villa told CNN.
The report, which does not mention Lewandowski by name, was filed on Christmas Eve. The report alleges the incident occurred on November 28.
Politico’s story was published on December 22nd. Villa may have felt obliged to interrupt her Christmas festivities to go talk to the cops on Christmas Eve in anticipation of the inevitable charge by Corey defenders, “If it happened, why haven’t you told the police?!” As I recall, that’s one of the reasons Michelle Fields filed a police report against him after their own run-in in 2016. Stage one of the defense is questioning why, if the incident occurred as described, the proper authorities weren’t informed. Then, after the authorities are informed, comes stage two: “Well, if it did happen, it’s no big deal.”
Lewandowski faced no charges over the Fields incident because prosecutors concluded that he was “reacting to what he perceived as a potential threat” when Fields wandered into the protective bubble around Trump even though a Secret Service agent standing nearby saw no problem with it. Trump stood behind Lewandowski the whole way, at one point wondering if Fields had made the whole thing up and at another speculating that she could have been an assassin with a bomb in her pen, using her job at Trump-loving Breitbart as deep cover, I guess. Lewandowski also refused to apologize Fields, whether because he wanted to emulate his boss’s own “no apologies, ever” rule or because he calculated, correctly, that the entirety of Trumpworld — including Breitbart — would side with him against Fields and therefore he didn’t need to.
He has a bigger problem with Villa, though, since her own Trump-loving credentials are sterling. When you wear a “MAGA” dress to the music industry’s annual gala, odds are you’re not concocting “FAKE NEWS!” to make life difficult for the president and his cronies. The mystery at the heart of this, then, is why Lewandowski didn’t just apologize afterward and put it behind him. Politico reported less than a week ago that he’s been hanging around POTUS lately and would obviously be in line for a White House job somewhere once some of Trump’s current deputies leave the administration after a year of service. The last thing he needs is some #MeToo incident hanging over his head that might lead John Kelly to conclude that he’s more trouble than he’s worth. He had a ready-made excuse for his behavior when Villa contacted him too, whether it was true or not: It was a party, he’d been drinking, he was trying to be playful but his judgment was impaired, he’s really sorry. If he’d said that to her, the whole incident might have been put to bed.
In fact, he was on Fox Business earlier today and had an opportunity to put the matter to bed publicly. “I don’t remember that happening,” Corey could have said when asked about it, “but it was a holiday party and I’d had a lot to drink, so if what Joy says is true, I apologize.” Instead, watch below how he handled the questions from FBN anchor Charles Payne. Payne was accused of sexual harassment not long ago; Fox investigated and ended up clearing and reinstating him. Payne was then sued for rape in federal court by former Fox contributor Scottie Nell Hughes in September. Lewandowski is very much aware of that and refers to Payne’s history (without getting into specifics) when he’s asked about Villa, repeating that Payne should know how it feels to be convicted in the court of public opinion without due process. Why take that combative approach and keep the Villa incident in the news instead of putting it behind him and making it politically easier for Trump to hire him? I don’t get it. Corey’s gonna Corey, I guess.
Exit question: What’s the appropriate criminal penalty for two smacks on the ass?