The lawyer of a woman involved in an altercation with a conservative commentator during a speech at the University of Connecticut is speaking out about the incident.
Lucian Wintrich, the White House correspondent for the right-wing blog Gateway Pundit, was arrested Tuesday night after a fight broke out at a speech titled, "It's OK To Be White."
The incident began when a woman appeared to take paperwork off his lectern and walk away. Wintrich can be seen on video running after the woman and grabbing her. He was arrested and charged with breach of peace.
Wintrich has threated to sue the school and the woman over the incident.
Attorney Jon Schoenhorn said that woman is his client, Catherine Gregory.
“She picked up a piece of paper that was on the podium or desk and started walking up the aisle to the seats. Within seconds she was pounced upon by Mr. Wintrich who grabbed her around the neck and tried to tackle her and pull her to the ground grabbing for the piece of paper,” Schoenhorn confirmed.
Schoenhorn said that Wintrich was making “hateful, racist statements” and that his client was motivated by a desire to stop that hate. He defended his client’s actions.
“A theft requires an intent to steal to permanently deprive. There’s no evidence of that and that was certainly not Ms. Gregory's intention,” he said.
Schoenhorn told NBC Connecticut he was not intimidated by the threat of a lawsuit.
“He's going to suggest that picking up a piece of paper deserves a lawsuit whereas his violent reaction and threats - nevermind the fact that he physically assaulted Ms. Gregory - would be what - understandable under the circumstances? But his provocations would not,” Schoenhorn said.
The event was controversial from the start and students who spoke to NBC Connecticut said they believed he should never have been allowed to speak on campus.
UConn has said it supports free speech and does not bar speakers on the basis of content.
The speech itself was constantly interrupted by heated debate.
Wintrich took to Twitter early Wednesday to blame UConn students for being "violent and disruptive."
"It's really unfortunate that some of the kids at @UConn felt the need to be violent and disruptive during a speech that focused on how the leftist media is turning Americans against each other," he wrote. "Tonight proved my point."
A crowd of between 100 and 150 people gathered outside the building after the event and police had to disperse the crowd. A UConn student, identified as 19-year-old Sean Miller, was arrested on accusations he broke the window.
The whole incident remains under investigation.
Gregory works as a college adviser at Quinebaug Valley Community. QVCC released a statement today saying that Gregory attended the event as a private citizens and that it does not condone the behavior and encourages peaceful discourse and compassionate debate.