Advertisement
  1. Florida Politics

Trump campaign worker's 'kiss' lawsuit against president dismissed by Tampa judge

President Donald Trump appears at an Aug. 24, 2016 campaign rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. That visit is cited in a lawsuit filed against the president by a former campaign worker. A federal judge has dismissed the lawsuit. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Published Jun. 14

TAMPA — A federal judge has dismissed a former campaign staffer's lawsuit against President Donald Trump which claimed he tried to kiss her during a Florida State Fairgrounds rally in 2016, and that she was paid less than her white male colleagues.

In an order issued Friday afternoon, U.S. District Judge William Jung called Alva Johnson's complaint a "political lawsuit."

"(Johnson) will receive a fair day in court, but the court will try a tort and wages dispute — not a political one," Jung wrote. "If plaintiff wishes to make a political statement or bring a claim for political purposes, this is not the forum."

The judge dismissed Johnson's complaint without prejudice, which means she can choose to re-file the lawsuit within 30 days.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Trump lawyers say allegations of past sexual misconduct should be tossed from federal lawsuit about Tampa kiss

The lawsuit focused on an incident that Johnson, 44, says took place on Aug. 24, 2016 at the fairgrounds. Johnson was in a Trump campaign recreational vehicle moments before his appearance at a rally she helped organize. She says the then-candidate grasped her hand, thanked her for her work, and leaned in to kiss her on the lips, according to the complaint. Johnson said she turned her head and Trump kissed her on the corner of her mouth.

Court documents detail other allegations of the president groping and kissing women without their consent, including the 2005 "Access Hollywood" recording where Trump can be heard describing these actions. Johnson brought them up in an effort to prove that Trump has demonstrated a pattern of inappropriate behavior with women.

But the judge found the examples she cited to be irrelevant to her lawsuit. He also noted that many of the examples she cited were taken from media reports.

READ MORE: Trump campaign worker says he kissed her without consent before Tampa rally

Johnson, who is black, also alleged that she was paid less than her white male colleagues while working on the campaign, but the judge found evidence of that lacking.

If Johnson chooses to re-file the lawsuit, the judge said she should limit her new complaint to just incidents involving her, and should not include quotes from any media reports.

Contact Dan Sullivan at dsullivan@tampabay.com. Follow @TimesDan.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Florida Supreme Court Justices Barbara Lagoa, left, and Robert Luck, right, were appointed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta by President Trump. Florida Supreme Court
    Ok losers, who needs access to our state politicians, anyway?
  2. Fox News host Tucker Carlson (left) and former national security adviser John Bolton Associated Press
    Carlson said Bolton was “one of the most progressive people in the Trump administration.”
  3. A view of the student center at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, where opposition is mounting over a plan to consolidate USF's three campuses. Some state lawmakers are opposed to parts of it that would concentrate authority over academic decisions in Tampa. CHRIS URSO   |   TIMES  |
    They say the proposal by USF president Steve Currall conflicts with a new Florida law by giving too much authority to the Tampa campus.
  4. Wreckage left behind by Hurricane Michael. News Service of Florida
    Entire school systems are still recovering from long-standing damage and dealing with the disruptive aftermath of the storm.
  5. An aerial view of the AmericanAirlines Arena, of the Miami Heat. American is set to leave as the named sponsor by the end of 2019. DRONEBASE VIA AP
    BangBros, best known for filming sex scenes in vans, announced it had submitted a $10 million bid to replace American Airlines as title sponsor of the county-owned arena.
  6. From left, Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. raise their hands to answer a question Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by ABC at Texas Southern University in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) DAVID J. PHILLIP  |  AP
    This time, the Democratic debate showed clear policy differences. But which ones were factual?
  7. An architect's rendering shows part of a planned research center and hospital on N McKinley Drive in Tampa for the Moffitt Cancer Center. During the 2020 legislative session in Tallahassee, the center will seek an increased share of Florida's cigarette tax to finance the McKinley Drive project and other improvements. Moffitt officials said Thursday that the increase initially would finance $205 million, to be paired with $332 million they have already allocated for the project. Moffitt Cancer Center
    Florida lawmakers are the key to unlocking the money, which would pay for more hospital beds and research space.
  8. The Agency for Persons with Disabilities [Special to the Times]
    Potential changes could affect virtually every client that receives services through the state’s disabilities program, to save tens of millions from the agency’s bottom line.
  9. Florida Supreme Court Justices Barbara Lagoa, left, and Robert Luck, right, were appointed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta by President Trump. Florida Supreme Court
    Justices Barbara Lagoa and Robert Luck have been serving on Florida’s highest court since January.
  10. From left, Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., entrepreneur Andrew Yang, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke and former Housing Secretary Julian Castro are introduced Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, before a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by ABC at Texas Southern University in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) DAVID J. PHILLIP  |  AP
    It’s the the third time the Democratic presidential candidates met to debate, and the first time that all three front runners, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, shared the same stage.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement