White House

Trump Attorneys Release Video They Say Refutes Campaign Worker’s Claim President Forcibly Kissed Her

President Donald Trump attends a campaign kick-off rally at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., June 18, 2019. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

Attorneys for President Trump released footage Wednesday of the moment a campaign worker cites in her lawsuit accusing the president of forcibly kissing her at a campaign event.

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,” Charles Harder, a lawyer for the president, wrote in a court document. “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.”

Former campaign staffer Alva Johnson sued Trump in February, alleging that he grabbed her hand inside an RV and tried to kiss her on the mouth without her consent at an August 2016 campaign rally in Tampa, Fla.

The fifteen-second video released Thursday was recorded by campaign volunteer Brian Hayes, and shows Trump surrounded by what appear to be staffers and associates. He is seen taking Johnson’s hand and giving her a kiss on the check before moving on and speaking to others in the vehicle.

Johnson’s suit says she had told Trump to “go in there and ‘kick ass'” at the upcoming rally.

“As Defendant Trump spoke, he tightened his grip on Ms. Johnson’s hand and leaned towards her. He moved close enough that she could feel his breath on her skin,” the lawsuit reads. “Ms. Johnson suddenly realized that Defendant Trump was trying to kiss her on the mouth, and attempted to avoid this by turning her head to the right. Defendant Trump kissed her anyway, and the kiss landed on the corner of her mouth.”

After the incident, Johnson said she was upset to the point of tears.

“Johnson called her partner, and then her parents, to tell them about what had happened, crying as she recalled the incident,” the suit says.

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