President Donald Trump’s attorneys were accused of “deceitful gamesmanship” following the release of video footage showing Trump embracing a campaign staffer at a campaign rally in 2016.
Alva Johnson, who worked for Trump’s 2016 campaign, is suing him for what she alleged to be an unwanted kiss “on the mouth.”
Johnson managed a fleet of RVs that were used as mobile offices for Trump’s campaign during the time of the alleged incident. She claimed the sexual battery occurred in one of the vehicles stationed in Tampa, Florida.
On Wednesday, Charles Harder, one of Trump’s attorneys, uploaded a 15-second video clip of what he and Johnson’s attorneys had both identified as the alleged incident. Harder described the video as “undeniable evidence that [Johnson’s] battery claim is unfounded and frivolous by virtue,” according to court documents.
“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,” Harder said in the court filing.
“The Video proves that Plaintiff has no legitimate claim for battery,” he added. “It also proves that Plaintiff and her counsel have lied repeatedly to this Court.”
In the video, Trump could be seen surrounded by supporters and staffers, including White House social media director Dan Scavino. Trump and Johnson appear to briefly interact in the video, but it is unclear whether their lips made contact, as Johnson alleged.
Harder described the contact as Johnson kissing “the air next to his face.”
The attorney also noted in the court filings that Johnson’s remarks after the alleged incident were “positive” towards Trump. Harder claims Johnson remarked positively to Trump immediately after the incident, saying “We’re going to get you in the White House, and I’ll see you in February.” It’s unclear in the video who made that statement.
Johnson’s attorneys fired back and urged the court to allow them to examine the evidence in more detail.
“We are gratified and pleased that we finally have proof what Ms. Johnson has been alleging in this lawsuit,” Hassan Zavareei, Johnson’s attorney, told POLITICO . “It is basically exactly what Ms. Johnson has been saying.”
After the video was released, Johnson’s attorneys filed a court document saying “the video shows exactly what Ms. Johnson alleged happened to her: an unwanted kiss from Defendant Trump.”
The document states that Johnson was mistaken on some of the incident’s “minor details” such as grabbing her shoulder instead of her hand but calls the interaction “undisputable.”
The document also claims Trump’s attorneys had “stripped” the video files of important information.
“Without the appropriate metadata for the video, Ms. Johnson is unable to determine who created the video, when it was created, and other important information about its origins,” Zavareei said in a court filing.
Attorneys also claimed the defense team deceitfully provided them with the short, “hidden” clip in 8-hours worth of unrelated video footage several days prior to her deposition on Monday.
Zavareei said that he considered the incident as an unwanted sexual advance from Trump.
“Does it look dramatic? No,” Zavareei said in POLITICO. “That does not mean it wasn’t a serious battery. It’s a battery because she didn’t want it to happen. It’s not an appropriate thing to do to another person.”
Johnson said she was previously registered as a Democrat, according to The Washington Post . She said she voted for former President Barack Obama for both of his terms before supporting Trump’s campaign.
In addition to her battery claim, Johnson alleged in her lawsuit that she was paid less than her white counterparts and accused the Trump campaign of racial discrimination.
Asked for comment on Johnson’s latest court filing, Harder told INSIDER he hoped the publication “will provide a fair and balanced report rather than simply quoting their nonsense.”