Trump’s lawyers say new video proves he didn’t forcibly kiss campaign staffer Alva Johnson: 'Innocent interaction that is mutual'
Johnson, in February this year, had alleged that Trump forcibly kissed her at a Florida rally during his 2016 presidential campaign run.
President Donald Trump's lawyers released a video on Wednesday showing the Republican kissing a former campaign staffer on the cheek. The president's lawyers are now arguing that the clip contradicts Alva Johnson's account, who has claimed that Trump forcibly kissed her on the mouth.
Johnson, in February this year, had alleged that Trump forcibly kissed her at a Florida rally during his 2016 presidential campaign run. Johnson, a former Trump campaign staffer, while speaking to The Washington Post in an interview, said: "I immediately felt violated because I wasn't expecting it or wanting it. I can still see his lips coming straight for my face."
The 48-year-old, who has filed a lawsuit against Trump, told the outlet that Trump grabbed her hand and leaned in to kiss her on the lips as he came out of an RV outside a rally in Tampa on August 24, 2016. The former staffer said that she turned her head and the kiss landed on the side of her mouth, the 48-year-old called the incident "super-creepy and inappropriate."
Trump's lawyers, however, released a 15-second clip, showing the then-presidential candidate interacting with Johnson on a crowded RV. Johnson, in the clip, can be seen wearing a white Trump hat as she tells him she's been "away from my family for eight months for you."
Trump then grabs her by the shoulders and kissed her right cheek as she says: "We’re going to get you in the White House. I’ll see you in February."
Trump's legal team, in a motion filed on Wednesday in Florida federal court, argued that the video proves that Johnson and her lawyer have "lied repeatedly" about their interaction, the New York Post reported.
"The two have a very brief, innocent interaction that is mutual — and not forcible," Trump lawyers said in court papers. "If Plaintiff had been attacked, as she alleges, one would expect a far different response than telling him she’ll help him get elected President of the United States. That is the response of a person who is moved in a positive way by her candidate’s show of appreciation and recognition of her dedicated service to his campaign."
Court papers state that the video was taken by a campaign volunteer Brian Hayes who was in the RV at the time and made the recording on his phone.
Trump denied Johnson's claims in a brief declaration filed in the case as he said in a sworn statement: "I do not know plaintiff Alva Johnson or recall having any interactions with her."
Meanwhile, Johnson's lawyer said that the video proves what her client has been saying all along. Attorney Hassan Zavareei said: "We are gratified and pleased that we finally have proof what Ms. Johnson has been alleging in this lawsuit. 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," Politico reported.
Judge William Jung, last month, had tossed the 48-year-old's lawsuit, saying that her complaint was politically motivated, and gave her 30 days to file an amended version.