Former campaign staffer Alva Johnson is suing President Trump for an alleged incident where the president forcibly kissed her before a Florida rally on Aug. 24, 2016.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing in the situation and several people present at the scene during the alleged incident have denied that it ever occurred. Moreover, a new 15-second video released by the Trump team provides some clarity.
The Washington Post reports:
In a February lawsuit and interview with The Washington Post, Johnson alleged the president grabbed her hand and leaned in for a kiss before a Florida rally on Aug. 24, 2016. She turned her head, which caused Trump to kiss the side of her mouth, she said, claiming she was humiliated.
In a Wednesday court filing, Harder brushed off Johnson’s battery claim as “unmeritorious and frivolous.” The video, he argued, shows an “innocent interaction that is mutual — and not forcible.”
The video, released by Trump attorney Charles Harder, does show Trump kissing Johnson’s cheek in a manner that is reminiscent of a greeting common in many European cultures but not in a threatening or forced manner as she alleged he contended.
Despite the Trump team posting the video and subsequently arguing it shows the president is innocent, the legal team representing Johnson claims the opposite—that the video is evidence the incident occurred as described.
If this is sexual assault, the entire continent of Europe must be immediately arrested https://t.co/VJPJ7BktG2
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) July 12, 2019
Here’s more from the Washington Post:
Trump and his legal team have long denied Johnson’s account. In February, then-White House press secretary Sarah Sanders dismissed Johnson’s allegation as “absurd on its face,” adding: “This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eye witness accounts.”
Hassan Zavareei, a lawyer for Johnson, said in a statement the video “corroborates exactly what Alva said.”
“Now, whether or not everybody would have felt violated by that is an open question. But Alva was. And she testified exactly why she felt uncomfortable. She testified that she didn’t really know how to react when it happened and that she was confused and uncomfortable,” he wrote Thursday. “After Access Hollywood came out, Ms Johnson was able to put in context exactly what Trump had done to her and what it meant. Indeed he told her himself, in his own words, exactly what that kiss was.”