Lawyers for President Trump have released a video showing him kissing a former campaign staffer on the cheek — and arguing that it contradicts her claims that he forcibly kissed her on the mouth.
The 15-second clip shows the then-presidential candidate interacting with staffer Alva Johnson on a crowded RV in August 2016 and was filed in response to Johnson’s lawsuit.
Johnson, wearing a white Trump hat, can be heard telling him that she’s been “away from my family for eight months for you.”
Trump then grabs her by the shoulders and kisses her right cheek, as she says, “We’re going to get you in the White House. I’ll see you in February.”
In a motion filed Wednesday in Florida federal court, Trump’s legal team argued that the video proves that Johnson and her lawyer have “lied repeatedly” about the brief interaction.
Johnson, a mom of four from Alabama, claimed Trump “forcibly” planted a kiss on her mouth and grabbed her hand without letting go.
“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,” they continued. “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.”
The video was taken by Brian Hayes, a campaign volunteer who was in the RV at the time and made the recording on his phone, according to court papers.
Trump denied Johnson’s claims in a brief declaration filed in the case.
“I do not know plaintiff Alva Johnson or recall having any interactions with her,” he said in the sworn statement.
Johnson’s lawyer, Hassan Zavareei, had a different take on the video — saying it proves what she’s been saying all along.
“We are gratified and pleased that we finally have proof what Ms. Johnson has been alleging in this lawsuit,” Zavareei told Politico. “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.”
Last month, Judge William Jung tossed Johnson’s lawsuit, which also included claims of sex and racial discrimination, saying her complaint was politically motivated.
He gave her 30 days to file an amended version, which she had not done as of Thursday.
“Plaintiff will receive a fair day in court, but the Court will try a tort and wages dispute — not a political one,” Jung wrote. “If Plaintiff wishes to make a political statement or bring a claim for political purposes, this is not the forum.”
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