- Alva Johnson, who worked for the 2016 Trump presidential campaign, is suing President Donald Trump over what she says was an unwanted attempted kiss “on the mouth.”
- On Wednesday, Charles Harder, one of Trump’s attorneys, uploaded a 15-second video clip of what both he and Johnson’s attorneys identified as the incident at the center of the claim.
- Harder described the video as “undeniable evidence that [Johnson’s] battery claim is unfounded and frivolous by virtue,” according to court documents.
- Trump and Johnson appear to make brief physical contact in the video, but it is unclear whether their lips make contact.
- Johnson’s attorneys argued Trump’s lawyers “stripped” the video files of important information. They also claim the defense team deceitfully provided them with the short, “hidden” clip in eight hours’ worth of unrelated video footage before her deposition.
- Asked for comment on Johnson’s latest court filing, Harder told INSIDER he hoped it would “provide a fair and balanced report rather than simply quoting their nonsense.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
President Donald Trump’s attorneys were accused of “deceitful gamesmanship” following the release of video footage showing Trump embracing a campaign staffer at a rally in 2016.
Alva Johnson, who worked for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, is suing over what she says was an unwanted attempted kiss on the mouth.
Johnson says Trump “moved close enough that she could feel his breath on her skin” when she “suddenly realized … Trump was trying to kiss her on the mouth,” previous court fillings said. Johnson said that she “attempted to avoid this by turning her head to the right” and that “Trump kissed her anyways … on the corner of her mouth.”
At the time, Johnson managed a fleet of RVs that were used as mobile offices for Trump’s campaign. She said the incident occurred in one of the vehicles stationed in Tampa, Florida.
On Wednesday, Charles Harder, one of Trump’s attorneys, uploaded a 15-second video clip of what both he and Johnson’s attorneys identified as the incident. Harder described the video as “undeniable evidence that [Johnson’s] battery claim is unfounded and frivolous by virtue,” according to court documents.
“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,” Harder said in a court filing.
“The Video proves that Plaintiff has no legitimate claim for battery,” he added. “It also proves that Plaintiff and her counsel have lied repeatedly to this Court.”
In the video, Trump could be seen surrounded by supporters and staffers including Dan Scavino, now the White House social-media director. Trump and Johnson appear to briefly interact in the video, but it is unclear whether their lips make contact.
Harder described the contact as Johnson kissing “the air next to his face.”
The attorney also said in the court filings that Johnson’s remarks after the encounter were “positive” toward Trump. Harder says Johnson remarked positively to Trump immediately afterward, saying, “We’re going to get you in the White House, and I’ll see you in February.” It’s unclear in the video who made that statement.
Johnson’s attorneys fired back and urged the court to allow them to examine the evidence in more detail.
“We are gratified and pleased that we finally have proof what Ms. Johnson has been alleging in this lawsuit,” Hassan Zavareei, Johnson’s attorney, told Politico. “It is basically exactly what Ms. Johnson has been saying.”
After the video was released, Johnson’s attorneys filed a court document saying the video “shows exactly what Ms. Johnson alleged happened to her: an unwanted kiss from Defendant Trump.”
The document says Johnson was mistaken on some of the incident’s “minor details” – such as the grabbing of her shoulder instead of her hand – but calls the alleged kiss “undisputable.”
The document also claims Trump’s attorneys had “stripped” the video files of important information.
“Without the appropriate metadata for the video, Ms. Johnson is unable to determine who created the video, when it was created, and other important information about its origins,” Zavareei said in a court filing.
Attorneys also claimed the defense team deceitfully provided them with the short, “hidden” clip in eight hours’ worth of unrelated video footage several days before her deposition on Monday.
Zavareei said he considered the incident as an unwanted sexual advance from Trump.
“Does it look dramatic? No,” Zavareei said in Politico. “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.”
Johnson was previously registered as a Democrat, according to The Washington Post. She told The Post she twice voted for Barack Obama before supporting Trump’s campaign.
In addition to her battery claim, Johnson alleged in her lawsuit that she was paid less than her white counterparts and accused the Trump campaign of racial discrimination.
Asked for comment on Johnson’s latest court filing, Harder told INSIDER he hoped the publication would “provide a fair and balanced report rather than simply quoting their nonsense.”