US presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s newly-appointed campaign manager was charged with domestic violence in 1996, New York newspapers reported Friday.
According to both the New York Post and the New York Times, the case against conservative media mogul turned political operative Steve Bannon ended when his wife failed to appear to testify against him.
Bannon — head of the incendiary conservative news site Breitbart — was a controversial choice when Trump hired him to replace a previous campaign chief tainted by his past as a lobbyist for pro-Kremlin interests.
It is understood that Bannon no longer faces any proceedings relating to the 1996 case, but its revelation may complicate Trump’s task as he seeks to woo wary women voters.
According to a police report seen by the papers, police were called to the couple’s Santa Monica, California home on New Year’s Day in 1996 and found Piccard upset and with marks on her neck and wrist.
She told police that she and Bannon had had a fight and that he had seized a telephone when she had attempted to call for help, throwing it across the room and smashing it.
The city attorney brought charges against Bannon and served him with a domestic violence protective order, but when the case came to trial in August Piccard did not appear and prosecutors dismissed the case.
According to court records, Piccard told investigators that Bannon had ordered her to leave town during the case and threatened to leave her and their twin daughters destitute.
Bannon and Piccard declined to be interviewed for the reports, but the Trump manager’s spokeswoman Alexandra Preate told the Times that he now has “a great relationship” with his now ex-wife and daughters.