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Jeff Landry campaign hires ex-Trump adviser accused of sexual misconduct

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Jeff Landry campaign hires ex-Trump adviser accused of sexual misconduct

Sep 20, 2023 | 6:00 am ET
By Julie O'Donoghue
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Jeff Landry campaign hires ex-Trump adviser accused of sexual misconduct
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Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski testifies during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill Sept. 17, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Attorney General Jeff Landry and his political action committee (PAC) hired a former Donald Trump political adviser who has faced charges of sexual misconduct to work on Landry’s campaign for governor.

Corey Lewandowski came to national prominence in 2016 when he briefly served as Trump’s campaign manager and then developed an on-and-off-again role as a senior adviser to the ex-president. 

He has also been accused of inappropriate behavior by at least two women, and struck a plea deal with Las Vegas prosecutors last year to avoid misdemeanor battery charges, according to Politico. 

The Landry campaign and a related PAC have paid Lewandowski $100,000 since April and reimbursed $4,332 worth of his travel expenses, according to a review of campaign finance records.

Landry’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday on Lewandowski’s work. 

In 2021, major Republican donor Trashelle Odom accused Lewandowski of repeatedly touching her, following her around a Las Vegas bar and eventually throwing a drink at her after she rejected his advances. Lewandowski and Odom, who is married to Idaho construction executive John Odom, were attending the same charity function, according to Politico.

A year later, Lewandowski agreed to undergo counseling and complete community service in exchange for prosecutors dropping charges against him over the incident. He did not admit to wrongdoing as part of the deal. 

It was not the first time Lewandowski had been charged with misdemeanor battery.

He also got in trouble with police after grabbing Michelle Fields, a reporter from the conservative outlet Brietbart, following a Trump press conference in Florida in 2016. Fields said Lewandowski’s hands left bruises on her arm, according to news reports

Lewandowski initially claimed he had not touched Fields, but security camera footage Florida law enforcement obtained showed him grabbing her arm. Prosecutors declined to pursue the case and dropped the charges however.

Still, Lewandowski lost clients and business for a few months after both incidents.

In 2016, he was eventually fired as Trump’s campaign manager and replaced with Paul Manafort. After the Las Vegas charges, Lewandowski lost his job running a super PAC for Trump, and Republican elected officials around the country cut ties with him for a few months, according to the Associated Press.

One of the Louisiana’s leading sexual assault prevention organizations said Lewandowski’s hiring raises concerns.

“I do think it is troubling to bring in people who have this fairly well-documented history of reports of sexual misconduct,” said Jessie Nieblas, the director of education and prevention at the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault, “though we are certainly not endorsing one campaign over another.” 

Lewandowski appears to be back in Trump’s good graces again. The former president spoke kindly of Lewandowski at a South Dakota rally earlier this month.

“He’s a great guy and a very smart guy and a wonderful person and a friend of everyone,” Trump said after spotting Lewandowski in the crowd.

Landry’s campaign also has ties to Trump. The former president and Donald Trump Jr. have endorsed Landry for governor. 

Campaign reports show the Landry campaign and Louisiana Republican Party have also spent over $47,000 this year on fundraisers and lodging for Landry at Mar-a-Lago, the luxury resort in Florida where Trump lives. 

Seth Tupper of South Dakota Searchlight contributed to this report.