Alva Johnson, a former Trump campaign staffer, has filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump, claiming that he kissed her without her consent during the 2016 race.
According to the lawsuit, Johnson noticed that Trump was making eye contact with her while he was meeting with volunteers and signing autographs inside an RV in Florida. When Trump found out that he was due for his next rally, she urged him to “to go there and kick ass.” Trump then allegedly took her hand and praised her efforts.
“As Defendant Trump spoke, he tightened his grip on Ms. Johnson’s hand and leaned towards her. He moved close enough that she could feel his breath on her skin,” the lawsuit states. “Ms. Johnson suddenly realized that Defendant Trump was trying to kiss her on the mouth, and attempted to avoid this by turning her head to the right. Defendant Trump kissed her anyway, and the kiss landed on the corner of her mouth.”
The lawsuit claims that then Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi smiled when the incident occurred and then-State Director Karen Giorno grabbed her elbow and gave it an approving tug.
After the incident, Johnson allegedly called her partner and then her parents and informed them about what happened.
Johnson was hired for the campaign in January 2016, but after the “Access Hollywood” tape was publicized in October 2016, she sought legal counsel for the RV incident. The lawyer decided not to take the case. Johnson quit the campaign shortly after.
“She continued to feel considerable emotional distress because of the forced kiss, and had nightmares about it,” the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit additionally alleges that Johnson didn’t receive fair compensation compared to her male colleagues.
“Ms. Johnson was also underpaid compared to similarly qualified and less qualified male staffers,” the lawsuit states. “She did not know this fact until very recently. Ms. Johnson’s experience is not isolated— indeed, the Campaign engaged in systemic gender discrimination in pay against its female employees.”
Hassan Zavareei, Johnson’s lawyer, said that she is only one in a long line of victims in Trump’s predation.
“Unlike so many of the other victims, she’s the only one with the ability to sue him directly for his sexual misconduct. The other lawsuits have been for defamation or some of the victims haven’t been able to bring any lawsuits at all because they’ve been barred by statute of limitations,” he said. “For that reason, I think she’s uniquely situated to hold him accountable for an actual act of sexual assault.”