Ex-Trump Staffer Alva Johnson Sues Trump for Forcibly KissingTop Stories

February 26, 2019 15:37
Ex-Trump Staffer Alva Johnson Sues Trump for Forcibly Kissing

(Image source from: news18.com)

President Donald Trump on Monday was sued by a woman who worked on his presidential campaign, accusing him of kissing her without permission ahead a 2016 rally in Tampa, Florida.

Alva Johnson said in the lawsuit, filed in United States District Court in Florida's Middle District, that the alleged incident was "part of a pattern of predatory and harassing behavior towards women" by Trump.

"This accusation is absurd on its face," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement. "This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eye witness accounts."

Trump has denied charges by quite a few of women who said he groped and kissed them over a period of years without approval.

The lawsuit alleges the encounter took place inside a campaign RV before a rally on August 24, 2016. While leaving a meeting in the vehicle, Trump grabbed Johnson by the hand and leaned in so near that she felt his breath, the lawsuit says.

According to the lawsuit, Johnson turned her head, trying to avoid a kiss, but Trump still managed to kiss the corner of her mouth. Johnson claims Trump had to move intentionally because her face was framed by a baseball cap.

"She felt confused and humiliated," the lawsuit said.

High-profile Trump supporters including then-Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Trump's Florida campaign director Karen Giorno were in the RV at the time, the lawsuit said. Both told the Washington Post, which first reported the lawsuit, that they saw nothing improper.

Johnson is seeking financial amends and a court order to forbid Trump "from grabbing, kissing or otherwise assaulting or harassing women without prior express consent."

According to the lawsuit, Johnson called her spouse and her parents in tears the day of the meeting with Trump and gave details of what had happened. She said fellow campaign workers subsequently bantered about the kiss after Giorno shared inside information.

In a phone interview on Monday, Johnson's attorney, Hassan Zavareei, rejected the White House denial and said the witness reports were not trustworthy.

The lawsuit said Johnson also experienced discrimination as one of the campaign's few females and African-American staff members. She earned less than her colleagues and experienced "a larger culture of racist and sexist behavior," the lawsuit said.

-Sowmya Sangam

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Donald Trump  sexual assault