A protestor who led to Donald Trump being bundled off stage by Secret Service officials has denied being a Democrat plant.
Austyn Crites was shoved to the ground and searched during a Republican rally in Reno, Nevada, when cries of “gun” rose up from the audience.
Secret Service agents immediately pushed Mr Trump down and formed a human shield as they shoved him off stage.
In reality, Mr Crites had nothing more than a placard, which said “Republicans Against Trump”.
Following the incident, there were claims that Mr Crites had been planted there by Democrats supporting Mr Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton.
But, the protestor said those suggestions were “ludicrous”. He added: “I stand by my principles, and that’s the reason why I felt compelled to go in there to hold up the sign.”
Mr Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told reporters that the protestor must have been a “Democratic plant of operative”.
However, Mr Crites, said while he has donated money to Mrs Clinton’s campaign and canvassed for her, he has never met her or her aides.
Mr Crites said people in the crowd were booing him and then suddenly things took a turn and became violent.
He said: “As I’m down there being choked, I hear something about a gun. I’m telling people ‘There is no gun, there is no gun. There’s just a sign. I only have a sign.'”
However, he was still subjected to searches by Secret Service agents and Reno police who took him backstage to look for a weapon. He was allowed to go after around an hour and a half when no gun was found.
Following the incident, Mr Crites says he has suffered abuse from online trolls.
He said he would support the Republicans if another candidate such as Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio was running.
Mr Crites added: “I actually liked Donald Trump when he was just a businessman who wrote about business. There was no ill will toward this man whatsoever until he started divisive rhetoric which I have zero tolerance for.”
Both Mr Trump and Mrs Clinton have been ramping up their campaigns in the final hours before America puts its cross on the ballot paper.
Mrs Clinton has just received a boost to her campaign after the FBI announced she had no case to answer in relation to emails sent from her personal email server.

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He is a freelance journalist who has actively worked on various environmental issues. He had covered the Clean Water Act amendments and the Superfund legislation which ultimately became the basis for the Clean Air Act which was promulgated in 1990. After that, he also covered the Food Quality Protection Act which was promulgated in 1996. As a freelance environmental reporter he also delved into the oil issue in North Dakota which altered the energy portfolio of the nation. He is also passionate about the various climate changes occurring around us and has reported about the harmful effects of global warming on the environment.