Florida Record

Friday, November 22, 2019

Judge: Ex-Trump campaign worker can't bring lawsuit vs president 'for political purposes'


By Marian Johns | Jun 19, 2019


TAMPA – A lawsuit filed by a former campaign staffer against Donald Trump and his campaign, alleging Trump kissed her without her consent at a Florida rally, was recently dismissed without prejudice by a federal judge who warned against litigation "for political purposes."

According to the June 14 filing by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, the defendants, Donald J. Trump for President Inc. and President Donald J. Trump, asked the court to dismiss a three-count lawsuit filed by Alva Johnson claiming simple battery and violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). 

In the lawsuit, Johnson alleged that at an August 2016 campaign rally in Tampa, in the presence of several others, Trump grabbed her hand and then as she tried to turn away from his incoming kiss, he kissed her on the side of the mouth. In her discovery, Johnson referenced Trump's allegedly consistent behavior of "nonconsensual acts" along with nearly 20 other alleged incidents involving women who claimed they were groped or kissed. The filing also cited the Access Hollywood tape in which Trump states on camera how "I just start kissing them" in reference to women. 

Johnson's lawsuit also claimed she was paid less than male campaign workers and sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as money damages, according to the court filing. 

In the filing, U.S. District Judge William Jung concluded that Johnson's complaint should not have "referenced" media reports or alleged battery incidents other than her own and that she also failed to "establish FLSA coverage" in her suit. 

Jung also warned that  "the court will try a tort and wages dispute – not a political one. If plaintiff wishes to make a political statement or bring a claim for political purposes, this is not the forum." 

Jung dismissed Johnson's complaint and sgave her 30 days to file an amended complaint.

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