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After violent scuffle in N.C. rally, officials consider ‘inciting a riot’ charge against Trump

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Authorities in North Carolina say they are looking at Donald Trump’s behavior as they continue their probe of a violent altercation at one of his rallies last week.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said in a Monday statement that its investigators are continuing to look at the rally last Wednesday in Fayetteville, during which a man was hit in the face while being escorted out.

“We are continuing to look at the totality of these circumstances … including the potential of whether there was conduct on the part of Mr. Trump or the Trump campaign which rose to the level of inciting a riot,” the statement said.

A sheriff’s department spokesman didn’t return a message seeking further comment. A spokeswoman for the local prosecutor referred questions to the sheriff’s office.

Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, said: “They have not reached out to us at all.”

Authorities have already charged a rally attendee with assault, disorderly conduct and communicating threats after he was caught on video hitting a man being led out by deputies at the event in Fayetteville.

At one point during the rally, Trump described a previous event in which a protester traded punches with his supporters. Trump told the audience: “They started punching back. It was a beautiful thing.”

In a statement, Trump’s campaign said, “the arena was rented for a private event, paid for by the campaign and these people attended with the intent to cause trouble. They were only there to agitate and anger the crowd. It is the protesters and agitators who are in violation, not Mr. Trump or the campaign.”

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