In the lawsuit, Johnson accused Trump of grabbing her hand and leaning in to kiss her on the lips as he exited an RV outside a campaign rally in Tampa on Aug. 24, 2016. Johnson said she turned her head and the kiss landed on the side of her mouth. She described feeling anguish and humiliation that led her to quit the campaign before the election.
U.S. District Judge William F. Jung rejected Johnson’s argument that accusations of sexual misconduct from other women against Trump were relevant to her case.
“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,” wrote Jung, who was appointed by Trump in 2017. “Many of these allegations describe 19 unrelated incidents involving women upon whom Donald Trump allegedly committed nonconsensual acts, over the past four decades with differing circumstances.”
Charles Harder, an attorney for Trump, called Johnson’s decision to give up the case “a total victory for President Trump” and said it “fully vindicates him of Johnson’s false accusations.” In July, Harder submitted video of the kiss, taken by a campaign worker, that the attorney said showed “an innocent interaction that is mutual.” Hassan Zavareei, a lawyer for Johnson, said the video “corroborates exactly what Alva said.”
When the suit was filed in February, in federal court in Florida, then-White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said of Johnson’s allegation: “This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eye witness accounts.” Two Trump supporters Johnson identified as witnesses — a campaign official and Pam Bondi, then the Florida attorney general — denied seeing the kiss in interviews with The Washington Post.
Harder said the president and the Trump campaign are demanding that Johnson pay legal fees and are considering a suit against her for breaching a nondisclosure agreement she signed when she joined the campaign.
Trump still faces a defamation lawsuit from former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos, who says Trump forcibly kissed and groped her during a December 2007 encounter at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. Trump has denied the allegations.