03:10 GMT09 July 2020
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    Alva Johnson, a former staffer who worked on US President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, filed a sexual misconduct lawsuit against POTUS on Monday, alleging that he kissed her without her consent.

    Johnson initially worked as the Trump campaign's director of outreach and coalitions in Alabama in 2016, before being reassigned to Florida and given the task of managing the recreational vehicles being used as mobile campaign offices.

    It was in August 2016 at a campaign stop in Tampa, Florida, when Johnson's opinion of Trump completely flipped. She alleges in her recently filed lawsuit that after volunteers met with Trump and snapped a few pictures inside a campaign RV, the would-be commander in chief grabbed her hand and leaned in to kiss her on the lips as he exited the vehicle.

    Johnson claims that just as she turned her head away from Trump, POTUS' lips ultimately landed on the side of her mouth. "I immediately felt violated, because I wasn't expecting it or wanting it… I can still see his lips coming straight for my face," she told the Washington Post.

    The former staffer didn't first consider coming forward about the incident until October 2016, after the release of the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape in which Trump is heard bragging about kissing and groping women without their consent.

    However, several months would go by before Johnson opted to take legal action. She first focused on trying to get past the traumatic experience by working with a therapist, before reaching out to various lawyers.

    Johnson eventually hired lawyer Hassan Zavareei, based in Washington, DC, after being motivated by the growing #MeToo movement and watching the negative impacts of Trump's policies, specifically the separation and detention of migrant children.

    Johnson stressed to the Post that she did try to obtain a job within the Trump administration, and although she was overlooked, those rejections weren't fueling her desire to air her experience or sue.

    She has indicated that Pam Bondi, who at the time served as the Florida attorney general, and Karen Giorno, the director of the Florida campaign, were present when Trump went in for the kiss. Neither corroborates her story.

    Giorno called the allegations "ridiculous," and Bondi told the Post that she "one hundred percent" did not see anything inappropriate take place between Trump and Johnson.

    White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders rejected Johnson's claims, saying in a statement Monday that "this never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eyewitness accounts."

    The lawsuit, which was filed in Florida, is seeking unspecified damages for emotional pain and suffering, and is also alleging that the Trump campaign discriminated against Johnson because it paid her less than white employees working on the campaign.


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    Sexual Misconduct, Alva Johnson, Donald Trump, Florida, United States
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