Before resigning, Charlie Crist’s campaign manager was arrested in a domestic violence case

MIAMI — Florida governor campaign manager Charlie Crist was arrested in a domestic violence case a day before he resigned from the campaign, NBC News has learned.

Austin John Durrer, 43, was arrested early Tuesday on a second-degree assault charge following a dispute at a home in Cambridge, Maryland, according to online court records and the prosecutor in the case, Amanda Leonard, who read an affidavit of probable cause. to an NBC News reporter by phone.

In a brief phone interview with NBC News, Durrer acknowledged that the arrest took place in connection with the dispute with the mother of his child, Jackie Whisman, with whom he lives. He said he filed the complaint the next day, which NBC News confirmed via online court records. She confirmed the account and released a joint statement with him.

“Very sadly, an incident occurred this week at our home that we both regret. We are both working to drop the legal charges and move forward,” the statement read. “Our primary focus right now is our daughter, our greatest joy, and we enjoy the privacy and respect as we navigate as a family.”

According to the probable cause affidavit Leonard read to NBC News, the woman had marks on her face from the argument.

“She [the alleged victim] said there was an argument that turned physical with the father of her child who is identified as Austin Durrer. There were signs of physical injury on her face, consistent with what she reported,” Leonard, the acting state’s attorney for Dorchester County, told NBC News.

Durrer was arrested at the residence ‘on the spot’ because police have the authority to do so ‘if officers respond to a call related to domestic violence, there are signs of physical injury and the allegations involve either domestic partners , or cohabitants in a 14 hour period,” Leonard said.

The Crist campaign did not immediately return a request for comment. A Democrat familiar with campaigning and controversy confirmed the arrest, which is why Durrer quit the campaign.

The day after Durrer’s arrest, Crist’s campaign announced that he had resigned, telling reporters that Durrer quit the campaign three weeks before the election to “focus on a family affair”. Prior to the campaign, Durrer served as Crist’s chief of staff in his Florida congressional office in Washington.

Durrer’s arrest the previous day in a state outside of Florida has not previously been reported.

Prior to Durrer’s arrest, Crist’s campaign trailed Governor Ron DeSantis’ campaign in poll numbers, fundraising and television advertising.

The state’s attorney did not immediately provide NBC News with a written copy of the probable cause affidavit, nor did the local Cambridge Police Department.

Immediately after his arrest, Durrer was taken before a county district court commissioner who held a first appearance hearing, found probable cause to support the misdemeanor assault charge, and allowed Durrer to be released that day after posting $10,000 bond, according to Leonard and online. Dorchester County Court records.

Among other notations, court records indicate that Durrer was ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim and that he should “leave the house” and “return the guns” if he has any.

His court date is set for December 7. The second-degree misdemeanor charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $500 fine, Leonard said.

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