is A former Trump campaign staffer has dropped a battery lawsuit accusing Donald Trump of forcibly kissing her in 2016.
Alva Johnson, who worked for the president’s campaign in Alabama, said in a statement Wednesday that she stood by her claims. But she said she could not compete with Trump’s “unlimited resources.” She also suggested the judge was not taking her seriously and complained of “on-going threats to my safety.”
Trump’s attorney Charles Harder said in a statement Thursday that Johnson’s abandonment of the lawsuit “represents total victory for President Trump, and fully vindicates him of Johnson’s false accusations.”
Harder said Trump and his campaign have demanded Johnson reimburse them for legal fees. He also warned they are “weighing their legal options” against her given that she signed a nondisclosure agreement with the campaign in 2016.
The White House did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Alva Johnson drops bombshell in battery lawsuit
Johnson filed the lawsuit in February. She accused Trump of battering her by pulling her in and kissing her “on the corner of her mouth” as he exited an RV outside one of his rallies in Tampa, Florida, on Aug. 24, 2016.
In court documents reported on by Business Insider, Johnson said the president “moved close enough that she could feel his breath on her skin” and then she “suddenly realized … Trump was trying to kiss her on the mouth.” According to Johnson, she “attempted to avoid this by turning her head to the right” but that “Trump kissed her anyways … on the corner of her mouth.”
“I immediately felt violated because I wasn’t expecting it or wanting it,” she later told the Washington Post. “I can still see his lips coming straight for my face.”
Johnson said she told her boyfriend, her mother and stepfather later that day about the incident. All three confirmed her story to the Post.
Alva Johnson, a former campaign aide of @realDonaldTrump, has filed a lawsuit claiming he forcibly kissed her.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) September 5, 2019
Writing in a court filing, Trump lawyer Charles Harder said that “the only conclusion a reasonable person could reach” after watching the recording is that the interaction was innocent.
“The Video shows that Plaintiff’s allegations in the Complaint that Mr. Trump ‘forcibly’ kissed her, and kissed her ‘on the mouth,’ are entirely false,” Harder wrote. “In watching the Video, the only conclusion a reasonable person could reach is that the exchange was an innocent moment between a dedicated campaign staffer and the candidate for whom she was working.”
During a deposition on Monday, Johnson confirmed that the video depicts the incident in question, Politico reported.
“That was the day, yes. … That is what happened,” she said.
While the video does not appear to show Trump’s lips kissing the corner of Johnson’s mouth as she alleges in her suit, her attorneys said they were glad the footage was released.
“We are gratified and pleased that we finally have proof what Ms. Johnson has been alleging in this lawsuit,” Hassan Zavareei, one of Johnson’s attorneys, told Politico. “It is basically exactly what Ms. Johnson has been saying.”
When challenged to explain how the incident in question differed from typical interactions between politicians and supporters at campaign rally events, Zavareei was adamant Trump had crossed the line.
“I don’t regard it as innocuous. … Does it look dramatic? No. That does not mean it wasn’t a serious battery. It’s a battery because she didn’t want it to happen. It’s not an appropriate thing to do to another person,” he said.
The other women
A number of women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct.
He has vehemently and repeatedly denied their claims. Trump’s critics point to past rhetoric, including his infamous “grab ’em by the pussy” remarks, to argue that his mindset towards women is predatory.
Meanwhile, the president’s supporters dismiss the allegations as politically motivated smear attempts bolstered by a media industry that is openly hostile to Trump. They argue that Trump’s critics are blinded by their hatred for the president.
In March, Trump’s liberal detractors criticized him for a seemingly innocuous encounter with a young supporter that took place during a signing ceremony.