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Florida state attorneys: Why they're not prosecuting Donald Trump's campaign manager

Florida prosecutors on Thursday announced that they won't move forward with the misdemeanor simple battery charge against Donald Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski for grabbing a female reporter's arm last month.

"As state attorney, I have made the decision that this office will not be filing charges against Corey Lewandowski for battery," Dave Aronberg, state attorney in Palm Beach County, said at a press conference.

The Jupiter Police Department charged Lewandowski late last month with simple battery for grabbing the arm of former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields after a Trump press conference in Florida in early March. Aronberg explained that his office received the case file after the charge was filed and conducted an independent review to determine whether they should pursue it.

The police department, Aronberg said, acted well within its authority, but explained that the evidence wasn't good enough to produce a conviction.

"We agree that probable cause exists for the Jupiter Police Department to have charged Mr. Lewandowski in this case. As prosecutors, however, our standard for filing criminal charges is higher than mere probable cause. We have the burden of proving each case beyond a reasonable doubt," he said.

Evidence in the case is "not strong enough" to reach the reasonable likelihood of a conviction, he said.

"It is unethical for us to file cases when we believe there is not a good-faith basis to proceed," Aronberg added.

The decision comes after Adrienne Ellis, a chief assistant state attorney in his administration, conducted the review. At the press conference Thursday, Ellis explained that they reviewed video footage and still frames from the time of the altercation as well as a photo showing bruises on Fields' arm.

The prosecutors said Fields "brushed or touched" Trump's arm as Secret Service agents cleared a path for him to leave at the end of his press conference. They also acknowledged that Lewandowski grabbed Fields' arm.

Asked if their decision was the result of a possible apology being issued, Aronberg said while an apology is encouraged in a case like this, it was not related to the decision.

Aronberg said that representatives of Lewandowski showed him a draft of an apology earlier this week. When the news of the prosecutors' decision was reported late Wednesday, however, Fields said she would have been okay with an apology but never heard back about one.

Trump's campaign issued a statement after the announcement Thursday.

"Corey Lewandowski is gratified by the decision to drop the misdemeanor charge and appreciates the thoughtful consideration and professionalism by the Palm Beach State Attorney and his staff who carefully reviewed this matter, as well as Mr. Trump's loyalty and the support of his colleagues and family during this time. The matter is now concluded," it said.

  • Rebecca Shabad

    Rebecca Shabad is a video reporter for CBS News Digital.