Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis said he did not send a campaign field director to an event for his Democratic opponent that led to the staffer’s arrest.
Levi Lovell was charged on Wednesday with aggravated assault after crashing a fundraiser for Betsy Dirksen Londrigan and allegedly aggressively questioning the candidate and her husband while shooting video with his phone.
Lovell allegedly punched someone and followed Londrigan and her husband around the bar as he asked “menacing questions,” according to the criminal complaint. Police said Lovell was “purposely trying to record members of Betsy Dirksen Londrigan’s campaign, trying to get them to say something inappropriate,” the Herald & Review reported.
After the altercation, Davis’ campaign manager said Lovell was fired.
When asked about the incident, Davis denied he sent Lovell.
“There is no way that I would ever send anyone to go sit at a bar for multiple hours and become intoxicated with my opponent’s supporters,” the congressman said at an event for veterans in Springfield.
“I did not send anybody there. I don’t believe anybody on my campaign has ever said that they sent Levi to that event, and I certainly don’t condone the behavior,” Davis said. “I think it’s wrong, and frankly, there probably would have been disciplinary actions without the video that was in question.”
Davis also said he called Londrigan to apologize for the incident and that Lovell was fired “before I even knew the details” of what had happened.
“I’ve been screamed at so loud by supporters of those who are opposed to me that they’ve spat on me on the streets of Springfield,” he said. “That’s not something that we should condone. And I certainly don’t condone the behavior of my former employee, either.”
Davis said he had never seen the kind of behavior from his former staffer that got him arrested.
“I’ve walked parades and been around Levi,” Davis said. “It’s an unfortunate mistake that I hope Levi is able to get through. That’s something he’s going to have to live with the rest of his life, and I hope somebody gives him a second chance if he proves that he deserves it.”
Lovell was released from the Sangamon County Detention Facility after posting $750 bond, the newspaper reported, and has a Sept. 13 court date.