A video of an encounter between Donald Trump and a then-campaign aide clears him of her claims that he kissed her without consent, lawyers for Trump say, while the woman’s attorney says otherwise.
Trump lawyer Charles Harder released a 15-second video to the media this week, saying it clearly shows Alva Johnson, then a Trump campaign worker, engaged in an “innocent interaction” with Trump at a 2016 campaign event.
Johnson filed suit against Trump earlier this year, accusing him of “battery” by kissing her without permission at the event, and charging he paid her and other black staffers less than their white and male co-workers.
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.”
Johnson attorney Hassan Zavareei says not so fast, telling the Post:
[...] 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.
Johnson has said in interviews with the press that as Trump went to kiss her, she turned her head and his lips landed on the side of her mouth, humiliating her. As the Post reports, Johnson said when Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood recording came out with him bragging about groping and kissing women, she realized that is what he had done to her.
“I felt sick to my stomach,” Johnson told the Post. “That was what he did to me.”
As the Post notes, Trump and his team have long denied Johnson’s claims:
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.”
Zavareei told the Post the video evidence proves Johnson has been telling the truth about being kissed by Trump.
“After Access Hollywood came out, Ms. Johnson was able to put in context exactly what Trump had done to her and what it meant,” Zavareei said. “Indeed he told her himself, in his own words, exactly what that kiss was.”