As GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump calls for “extreme vetting” of immigrants, he recently hired campaign chairman Stephen Bannon, who was charged with assaulting his then-wife 20 years ago. Although the charges were dropped after Bannon’s wife failed to appear in court, she later reported that Bannon had threatened her against testifying against him.
According to a police report obtained this week by Politico, Santa Monica police officers responded to a 911 call at Bannon’s house on the morning of January 1, 1996. Bannon’s then-wife, Mary Louise Piccard, told officers that Bannon had slept on the couch and became angry at her for waking him up as she fed their young children.
When Piccard asked her husband for a credit card for groceries, Bannon reportedly refused and entered his car to drive away. Piccard followed him to the car and continued arguing with Bannon until spitting at him. Grabbing her by the left wrist and the neck, Bannon allegedly tried to pull Piccard into the car, over his open door.
In order to escape, Piccard began to fight back and fled inside the house. After grabbing a portable phone, Piccard held her children and dialed 911. According to the police report, Bannon grabbed the phone out of her hand and threw it across the room.
Although the phone had broken, dispatchers sent a patrol unit to investigate the dropped call. Officers discovered red marks on Piccard’s neck and left wrist, but Bannon had left prior to their arrival.
Piccard told the officers that she and Bannon had three or four arguments in the past that “became physical,” but Bannon had not physically abused her for at least four years. Bannon was charged with domestic violence, battery, and attempting to dissuade a victim from reporting a crime.
But the charges against Bannon were dropped after Piccard failed to appear in court. According to court records, Piccard later reported that Bannon and his lawyer had threatened her in order to prevent her from testifying.
While denying that he had threatened Piccard, Bannon’s lawyer, Steven Mandell, told The New York Times, “It’s possible that Steve Bannon said that to her, but I did not.”
On January 13, 1997, Piccard dissolved her marriage to Bannon while retaining custody of their two children. According to a 2007 court statement, Piccard wrote that Bannon did not want their daughters attending the Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles because too many of the students were Jewish.
“He said that he doesn’t like the way they raise their kids to be ‘whiny brats’ and that he didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews,” Piccard wrote.
After dumping campaign chairman Paul Manafort earlier this month due to his dubious Ukrainian connections, Trump hired Breitbart News chairman Stephen Bannon as his new campaign CEO. While calling for “extreme vetting” along U.S. borders, Trump’s own campaign staff has become infested with bigots, misogynists, and an alleged sexual predator named Roger Ailes, formerly of Fox News.