A former Trump campaign staffer dropped her lawsuit against President Donald Trump.
Alva Johnson filed a lawsuit on Feb. 25, alleging battery and discrimination based on her race and gender.
In a statement on Sept. 5, Johnson told CNN: “I have made the difficult decision not to pursue my claims at this time.”
“I am facing a judge who openly questions whether the kiss is worthy of a federal lawsuit and has determined that Mr. Trump’s history of such behavior is not relevant, and I’ve endured on-going threats to my safety,” Johnson said. “I’ve decided for the sake of my family that I will not continue with the case at this time.”
Johnson claimed the president forcibly kissed her in an RV being used by the campaign on Aug. 24, 2016, in Florida.
In a statement at the time, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said: “This accusation is absurd on its face. This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eye witness accounts.”
U.S. District Court Judge William Jung dismissed the lawsuit in June.
“Though this simple battery appears to have lasted perhaps 10-15 seconds, Plaintiff has spent 29 pages and 115 paragraphs in the Complaint setting it forth. Many of these allegations describe 19 unrelated incidents involving women upon whom Defendant Trump allegedly committed nonconsensual acts, over the past four decades with differing circumstances,” he wrote.
“The Complaint presents a political lawsuit, not a tort and wages lawsuit. Plaintiff will receive a fair day in court, but the Court will try a tort and wages dispute—not a political one. If the Plaintiff wishes to make a political statement or bring a claim for political purposes, this is not the forum,” he added.
Video footage released in July showed Johnson leaning towards Trump as he quickly pecked her left cheek.
The 15-second video “shows that Plaintiff’s allegations in the Complaint that Mr. Trump ‘forcibly’ kissed her, and kissed her ‘on the mouth,’ are entirely false,” attorney Charles Harder wrote in a court filing (pdf).
“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.”
The video showed Johnson telling the then-candidate that she was “away from my family for eight months for you.”
Trump puts his hands on Johnson’s shoulders and kisses her, prompting her to smile and repeat: “eight months for you.”
“We’re going to get you in the White House and I’ll see you in February,” she added.
In a court filing made soon after (pdf), Johnson’s lawyers argued that Trump’s lawyers tried “to mischaracterize” the footage even as the video “shows exactly what Ms. Johnson alleged happened to her: an unwanted kiss from Defendant Trump.”
“It is now undisputable that Mr. Trump in fact kissed Ms. Johnson,” they wrote.
They said Johnson was “unable to determine who created the video, when it was created,” or other details.