New Footage of Head-Stomping Incident at Paul-Conway Debate Emerges

Conservatives are seizing on newly-unearthed footage of the 23-year-old woman who had her head stepped on outside a Kentucky Senate debate by a Rand Paul supporter to suggest that the woman posed more of a threat than initial footage suggested.

The footage shows Laura Valle approaching the candidate's SUV and partially putting a sign into the passenger-side window. Valle, who is affiliated with the liberal group MoveOn.org, was then pushed away from the car and out of the camera shot depicting the scene.

The video then shows Paul being escorted out of the car, and Valle, wearing a red sweatshirt and a long, blonde wig, running around the car with her sign.

The video sheds new light on the charged scene, which has been the point of much controversy since Monday, when video emerged of the young woman being forced to the ground and having her head stepped on. Tim Profitt, the man who has been identified as the "stomper," has since said he thinks Valle owes him an apology.

Valle, who suffered a concussion resulting from the incident, said on CBS' "The Early Show" that she believed the violence at the event was "premeditated."

Conservative commentators allege the new footage shows that "Valle was there to do more than simply 'hold a sign,' and Paul supporters were not reacting to a mere dislike of her message," as a blogger at the conservative site RedState put it. (The post offers a disclaimer that "there are no mitigating circumstances to be presented in this article or video. You don't stomp on a person's head.")

But MoveOn.org's Ilyse Hogue argues that Valle was simply attempting to get a photo of herself with Paul, and that she posed no threat to the candidate.

"Lauren made no secret of the fact that she was trying to get a picture with Rand Paul and her satirical sign at this event," Hogue said in a statement following the release of the new footage. "If the candidate, or any of his supporters, felt threatened by a girl with a poster, once they had pulled her away from the car, the threat had passed."

Hogue continued: "Nothing justifies the violence of her head being stomped on the curb once she was on the ground. This is nothing less than the men involved, and the Paul campaign, once again trying to justify an obvious assault once they have been exposed."

In the meantime, Mike Pezzano, who has been identified as one of the men involved in wrestling Valle to the ground, said in a radio interview with Fox 41 News that his actions were guided by a fear for Paul's well-being.

"I was just trying to protect Rand. I was more worried about Rand's safety than I was anything else. It's like if someone yells fire... you don't just sit there. You do something," Pezzano said according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Pezzano added, however, that while he thought Valle "needed to be restrained," Profitt "went too far."

"I think that was inappropriate," Pezzano said. "I think Tim went over the line with that."


Lucy Madison
Lucy Madison is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.

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