On Wednesday, attorneys for President Donald Trump released a 15-second video of the president embracing former campaign staffer Alva Johnson in 2016. Johnson is suing the president over the alleged incident, claiming she was forcibly kissed on the mouth by Trump. But Trump’s attorneys now say the video evidence confirms that the lawsuit is utterly frivolous.
"And I’ve left my family for eight months for you," Johnson says in the video clip. Mr. Trump then grabs her shoulders and kisses her on the cheek while saying, "Thank you."
"We’re gonna take you the White House; I’ll sleep in February," a voice which sounds like Johnson’s says, though it’s unclear who says it per the available footage.
The clip has been confirmed by both parties’ attorneys as the incident Johnson is claiming was the alleged battery by Mr. Trump. The incident happened in a vehicle in Tampa, Florida, surrounded by Trump supporters, including White House Director of Social Media Dan Scavino.
"Johnson says Trump 'moved close enough that she could feel his breath on her skin' when she ‘suddenly realized ... Trump was trying to kiss her on the mouth,’ previous court fillings [sic] said,” Business Insider reported. "Johnson said that she ‘attempted to avoid this by turning her head to the right’ and that ‘Trump kissed her anyways ... on the corner of her mouth.'"
Trump attorney Charles Harder, who uploaded the video, said the clip was “undeniable evidence that [Johnson's] battery claim is unfounded and frivolous by virtue,” court documents said, according to Business Insider.
"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, adding that the video "proves that Plaintiff has no legitimate claim for battery. It also proves that Plaintiff and her counsel have lied repeatedly to this Court."
Harder also said that Johnson kisses "the air next to his face."
Johnson’s attorneys were displeased with the release of the video clip, while also claiming that it helps their case, saying in a court document that the footage "shows exactly what Ms. Johnson alleged happened to her: an unwanted kiss from Defendant Trump."
"We are gratified and pleased that we finally have proof what Ms. Johnson has been alleging in this lawsuit," Johnson's attorney Hassan Zavareei told Politico. "It is basically exactly what Ms. Johnson has been saying."
"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, Business Insider said, noting that “Attorneys also claimed the defense team deceitfully provided them with the short, 'hidden' clip in eight hours' worth of unrelated video footage several days before her deposition on Monday."