Undercover video claims Asheville woman punched at Trump rally was planted by DNC
UPDATE: With regard to the following story, Buncombe County court documents show the charge was dismissed April 21, 2017, through prosecutorial discretion, after consultation with the victim and review of the case. A lawyer for Richard Campbell tells News 13 that Mr. Campbell did not do anything illegal or offensive and the victim’s allegations were a hoax.
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) - A new video released this week from a controversial conservative group claims the Asheville woman who was punched at a Trump rally was planted there by a subcontracted firm doing work for the Democratic National Committee.
In the video, entitled Rigging the Elections-Part I and released by Project Veritas, narrator James O'Keefe claims Shirley Teter, the 69-year-old woman who says she was punched at the Donald Trump rally in Asheville in September, was purposefully planted by an arm of the Democratic National Committee with the knowledge of the Clinton campaign. Scott Foval, the National Field Director for Americans United for Change, says "she was one of our activists," but the video does not give any context. The video is edited to start with that phrase, so it's unclear to whom Foval is actually referring. Previous videos released by Project Veritas have been attacked for misleading editing, and O'Keefe has been previously convicted and forced to pay a $100,000 fine.
Teter has maintained that she was punched in the face at the rally by 73-year-old Richard Campbell of South Carolina. News 13 showed her the Project Veritas video, and she vehemently denied being involved in any way with any person, group, or organization, political or otherwise.
"I don't interact with groups," Teter said. "I'm independent. I went there as a choice of my own. Not because anybody asked me to go, not because anybody paid me to go, I went because I wanted to go."
Teter said she went to the rally to speak out against Trump, whom she claims is "dangerous for our country." While there, she says after saying something to Campbell about his support for Trump, that he turned and hit her. Video later released showed Teter walking behind Campbell after witnesses say they had an off-camera interaction. At the end of the video, Teter reaches out for Campbell, but it's not clear whether she touches him. Campbell and some witnesses say he was reacting to being grabbed from behind and it was not intentional. Other witnesses have said he deliberately punched her. Today, she said it's possible that he could have struck her with his backhand.
Teter has COPD and uses an oxygen machine nearly all the time. There is a static line in her apartment, and she uses a small backpack with a tank when she leaves her building, such as last month at the Trump rally. That rally was at the U.S. Cellular Center, only a few hundred feet from her door.
This Friday's Trump rally will be at the WNC Ag Center in Fletcher, a solid 15 minutes drive from downtown Asheville. Teter said she has "no intention" to go to this one.
"Not with what happened last time," she said.
Teter said she has been a lifelong Independent but has never voted for a Republican for president. Before moving to Asheville nearly two years ago, she said she worked on President Barack Obama's first presidential campaign answering phones.
Shirley Teter was not the only person injured in the melee outside the Trump rally during his last visit. Many people on both sides of the aisle claimed they were mistreated, spit on, or had obscenities yelled at them outside the rally.
Buncombe County GOP chair Nathan West said Friday's event will be more calm because the Ag Center will provide better opportunities for Secret Service and local law enforcement to control the situation.
RETRACTION: To the extent we ever reported, as fact, that Mr. Campbell punched or otherwise made illegal contact with the alleged victim, we retract such statements. We merely sought to report on his arrest and allegations made in connection therewith. We apologize for any confusion.