Attorneys for Donald Trump say the video of the president embracing then-campaign staffer Alva Johnson in 2016 refutes her allegations that Trump forcibly kissed her with out consent. Johnson’s attorneys say if nothing else, the footage proves her claims had been truthful.
Removed from offering readability, the 15-second video launched Wednesday by Charles Tougher, an lawyer for Trump, solely led to conflicting interpretations.
In a February lawsuit and interview with The Washington Put up, Johnson alleged the president grabbed her hand and leaned in for a kiss earlier than a Florida rally on Aug. 24, 2016. She turned her head, which induced Trump to kiss the facet of her mouth, she stated, claiming she was humiliated.
In a Wednesday courtroom submitting, Tougher disregarded Johnson’s battery declare as “unmeritorious and frivolous.” The video, he argued, reveals an “harmless interplay that’s mutual — and never forcible.”
Trump and his authorized workforce have lengthy denied Johnson’s account. In February, then-White Home press secretary Sarah Sanders dismissed Johnson’s allegation as “absurd on its face,” including: “This by no means occurred and is immediately contradicted by a number of extremely credible eye witness accounts.”
Hassan Zavareei, a lawyer for Johnson, stated in an announcement the video “corroborates precisely what Alva stated.”
“Now, whether or not or not all people would have felt violated by that’s an open query. However Alva was. And she or he testified precisely why she felt uncomfortable. She testified that she didn’t actually know how you can react when it occurred and that she was confused and uncomfortable,” he wrote Thursday. “After Entry Hollywood got here out, Ms Johnson was capable of put in context precisely what Trump had accomplished to her and what it meant. Certainly he informed her himself, in his personal phrases, precisely what that kiss was.”
Talking with The Put up earlier this 12 months, Johnson stated she didn’t totally course of the gravity of the encounter till about six weeks after the kiss, on Oct. 7, 2016, when The Put up printed the “Entry Hollywood” tape of Trump bragging about kissing, groping and forcing himself on ladies.
“You recognize I’m robotically interested in stunning — I simply begin kissing them,” Trump stated in 2005. “It’s like a magnet. Simply kiss. I don’t even wait. And while you’re a star, they allow you to do it. You are able to do something.”
“I felt sick to my abdomen,” Johnson stated, including she stop the marketing campaign about three weeks earlier than the election. “That was what he did to me.”
Zavareei alleged Trump and his associates, specifically Sanders, had been dishonest of their claims that the incident by no means occurred. In a separate Wednesday submitting after the video was launched, Johnson’s attorneys alleged Trump’s authorized workforce had eliminated the video’s metadata, stopping Johnson from understanding “who created the video, when it was created, and different necessary details about its origins.”
Tougher didn’t return an e-mail requesting remark Thursday.
In a earlier interview with The Washington Put up, two Trump supporters who Johnson recognized as witnesses — a marketing campaign official and Pam Bondi, then the Florida lawyer common — denied seeing the kiss. Within the temporary video, which was reportedly taken by marketing campaign volunteer Brian Hayes, Trump is seen inserting each of his arms on Johnson’s shoulders and seems to vegetation a kiss on or close to her proper cheek, although it’s not clear whether or not he makes contact along with her mouth.
Within the courtroom filings, Tougher signifies that after the interplay Johnson informed Trump, “We’re going to get you within the White Home and I’ll see you in February” — although it’s not fully clear within the video who made the comment.
Johnson is one in every of 16 ladies to accuse the president of sexual misconduct. Most of the accusations got here following the discharge of the Entry Hollywood tape. The latest allegation got here from New York-based author E. Jean Carroll, who stated Trump sexually assaulted her in a division retailer dressing room in late 1995 or early 1996.
In response, Trump stated Carroll was “completely mendacity” and “not my kind.”
Beth Reinhard contributed to this report.