Former Trump campaign staff member sues, alleging that Trump kissed her without consent


Alva Johnson, a former Trump campaign employee living in Alabama, says in a lawsuit filed Monday that Trump took her hand and forcibly kissed her without consent in a motorhome in Florida in August 2016 .

While Trump was meeting volunteers and signing autographs inside the RV, "Ms. Johnson noticed that the defendant Trump was watching her and seemed to be trying to look her in the eye," the lawsuit says.

After the secret services alerted him to the fact that he was expected for his next rally, she urged him to "go and kick ass".

Trump would have seized his hand and praised his efforts.

"While the accused Trump was speaking, he tightened his hold on Mrs. Johnson's hand and leaned in. He moved closer enough so that she could feel his breath on her skin," says the lawsuit. "Ms. Johnson suddenly realized that the accused Trump was trying to kiss her on the mouth and was trying to avoid that by turning her head to the right." The accused Trump had it kissed anyway, and the kiss had landed at the corner of his mouth. "

The lawsuit alleges that several witnesses saw the incident, including Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, then State Director Karen Giorno, and regional directors Earl "Tony "Ledbetter, Mitch Tyner and Nick Corvino.

The lawsuit alleges that Bondi smiled when the incident occurred and that Giorno "grabbed Ms. Johnson's elbow and gave her an approved hand."

After the incident, while she was traveling to the campaign headquarters in Sarasota, Florida, the complaint states that "Johnson called her partner, then her parents, to tell them what's wrong with her." had passed, crying while remembering the incident. "

The complaint indicates that Giorno had already arrived in Sarasota "and was already sharing the details with other campaign staff".

The existence of the lawsuit was reported for the first time by the Washington Post.

Bondi and Giorno did not respond to CNN's request for comment, but both told the Post that they did not remember the incident in the RV and denied having reacted in the manner described by Johnson.

Johnson, whose experience in event planning and human resources, has voted for Democrats in previous election cycles. "However, she was intrigued by the possibility of working on the campaign of a relatively unknown political outsider, such as the accused Trump," the lawsuit says.

But before being hired, Johnson claims to have met Trump for the first time in November 2015 at a rally in Birmingham, Alabama. At this first meeting, Johnson claims to have behaved inappropriately.

When Johnson arrived, he went to Trump, he would have, "looked up and down and said," Oh, beautiful, gorgeous, fantastic. "

Johnson was hired in January 2016, but after the release of the tape "Access Hollywood" in October 2016, Johnson asked for help from a lawyer for advice on the RV incident. About a week after the release of the tape, Johnson left the campaign. The lawyer finally decides not to take the case, according to the lawsuit.

At the request of his former lawyer, Johnson consulted a therapist.

"She continued to feel great emotional distress because of the forced kiss and had nightmares about it," the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit also claims that Johnson did not receive fair compensation, claiming that she was "significantly underpaid" compared to her former male colleagues.

"Ms. Johnson was also underpaid compared to male employees of the same qualification and less qualified," says the lawsuit. "She did not know it until very recently." Ms. Johnson's experience is not isolated – in fact, the Campaign has engaged in systemic discrimination based on gender. compensation in respect of its employees. "

CNN solicited comments from the White House. Kayleigh McEnany, national press secretary for the Trump campaign, said in a statement to CNN: "The Trump campaign has never discriminated based on race, ethnicity, gender or any Any other claim to the contrary is unfounded and unfounded. "

Hassan Zavareei, Washington-based Johnson's attorney, told CNN that Johnson had publicly announced his allegation of sexual misconduct against President Trump because she had "decided that she would not could no longer be silent. "

"She tried to hire a lawyer immediately after the release of the cassette" Access Hollywood "… After the lawyer had decided that the case was too big for them and that they were not going to charge it, she decided to try to move in with her life, "Zavareei said.

But after Trump's election, Zavareei said Johnson had been overwhelmed by "a sense of guilt and responsibility" for the role she could have played to help Trump win the election.

Johnson was particularly upset by Trump administration policies regarding migrant families, Zavareei said.

"I think what moved her the most was seeing the forced separations – she's a mother and feels it very deeply – was very affected, personally affected, seeing Trump put young people children and put them in cages.It decided that she I could no longer shut up, "he said.

Zavareei said his client was only one of the "many victims of Donald Trump's predation".

"Unlike many other victims, she is the only one who can directly sue her for sexual misconduct." The other lawsuits related to defamation charges, some of whom were not able to Prosecutions because they were prohibited by prescription, "he said." For this reason, I think that she is uniquely well placed to hold him accountable a real act of sexual assault. "

Zavareei added that with the launch of this lawsuit, Johnson is resigned to the fact that she is likely to be criticized from all sides.

"She knows as an African-American who has worked on the campaign and now shows up against Trump.She will probably accept it from both sides, but she is ready to stand up and take on the responsibility of what she did, "he said.

Johnson is now focused on "doing what she can to hold him accountable for his sexist and racist conduct."

According to the Post, three months after hiring Zavareei last year, Johnson "had decided to seal a multi-year trial in which two members of his family had applied for a temporary restraining order against him" . family members.

In some news reports in the newspaper about his relatives in Georgia, Zavareei said that it was "a silly show" and that "everyone is on good terms" now.

"It's a private family affair," Zavareei said, adding that it was "totally irrelevant" for Johnson's case.

Betsy Klein from CNN contributed to this report.

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