Former Donald Trump campaign staffer Alva Johnson claimed in a lawsuit that Trump traumatized her by “forcibly” kissing her “on the mouth” before a rally in Tampa in 2016.
On Wednesday, Trump’s lawyer released video of the interaction showing they both appeared to have air kissed each other on the cheek:
This staffer said Trump grabbed her by the shoulders and forcibly kissed her at a campaign event. She is now suing Trump for "violating norms of decency."
Someone else captured this video, just released tonight.
The instance seems to have been greatly mischaracterized. pic.twitter.com/qAxJjPyrnN
— Boomieleaks (@notwokieleaks) July 11, 2019
Trump’s attorneys posted the 15-second video online Wednesday and cited it in pleadings filed with a federal judge handling a lawsuit Johnson filed in February claiming trauma from the interaction with Trump. Johnson also claimed that sex and racial discrimination impacted her pay while working as an outreach staffer for the campaign.
Trump lawyer Charles Harder said the recording shows Johnson’s suit is “unmeritorious and frivolous.”
“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 a court filing. “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.”
[…] “We are gratified and pleased that we finally have proof what Ms. Johnson has been alleging in this lawsuit,” said Hassan Zavareei, an attorney for Johnson. “It is basically exactly what Ms. Johnson has been saying.”
Zavareei said there are only minor differences from Johnson’s longstanding account. “She said Trump was holding her by the hands. In fact, he grabbed her by the shoulders. … Other than that, it’s basically identical to what she alleged,” her attorney said.
Asked whether the interaction is notably different from those frequently seen on rope lines at campaign events, Zavareei said: “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.”
It was “basically” *literal* rape!