— Michael Williams (@michaeldamianw) June 19, 2019
The man charged for slapping a reporter’s hand outside of a Trump rally in Florida says he’s sorry, but also downplayed the incident as “not that big of a deal.” Daniel Patrick Kestner, 51, is charged with battery, court records show.
He was identified as the man seen on video trying to slap a phone out of the hand of Orlando Sentinel reporter Michael Williams.
Video from Williams’s point of view shows a MAGA-hatted Kestner involved in an incident with another man in a blue shirt. The defendant can be seen approaching the reporter for recording the incident.
“I promise you I’ll kick you in the nuts,” he said.
He then smacked Williams’s hand, which held the cell phone. Security immediately responded to the incident and told Kestner to leave.
“This motherfucker taping me,” said Kestner. He called the reporter a “ginger bitch.”
According to a probable cause report obtained by Law&Crime, the defendant told cops he was mad that Williams was recording. He claimed to tell the reporter to stop, and then “brushed him off.” Kestner smelled like alcohol, he said.
If there’s been a consistent theme in this whole story, it’s that Kestner doesn’t want to talk to reporters. Local outlet Knight News caught him as he was leaving the Orange County Correctional Facility on Wednesday, but as seen on video, he just kept walking to his vehicle.
He initially declined to speak, then said “What are you talking about?” when asked about the incident the day before. Nonetheless, he said he was “100 percent” remorseful when the Knight News reporter asked if he was sorry.
Kestner voiced exasperation when The New York Post contacted him.
“You guys must have nothing else going on right now,” he said. “This is the dumbest thing ever and I promise that if you were me, you’d think the same thing.”
In both interviews, Kestner claimed he didn’t know Williams was a reporter. According to the Sentinel, Williams identified himself as such, but Kestner told the Post he didn’t hear that. He said he wanted the story to go away.
“If I struck him, he would’ve been bleeding, trust me,” he said. “It’s not that big of a deal.”
[Screengrab via Michael Williams]
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