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. [SKIP O'ROURKE   | Times]
    It’s unclear if there will be any proposed changes to this method for measuring teachers’ impact on their students’ performance, despite complaints.
  2. Ron DeSantis, the Republican nominee for governor, announces his education proposals in front of Franklin Middle Magnet School in Tampa last month. He says he wants to reduce "bureaucratic waste and administrative inefficiency" in Florida schools. But many educators say their budgets are already cut to the bone. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
    DeSantis said Wednesday he will call for expanding state oversight of septic tanks, developing better oversight of wastewater and stormwater systems and requiring the state to track agricultural...
  3. In this Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, file photo, a woman using an electronic cigarette exhales in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File) TONY DEJAK  |  AP
    “We’re looking at it, we’re going to be thorough in our investigation, and we will hold accountable any companies that are intentionally targeting and misleading our youth regarding vaping products,”...
  4. From left to right: Igor Fruman, Lev Parnas, President Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani. Miami Herald
    David Correia, who worked with Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, is now in federal custody and will be arraigned Thursday before U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken in Manhattan federal cour
  5. Hurricane Michael, which made landfall in Mexico Beach last year, left wide swaths of destruction across the Florida Panhandle. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Darcy Abbott, a longtime official at the state Agency for Health Care Administration and Department of Health, will coordinate several agencies’ mental health responses to disasters and emergencies.
  6. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, from left, businessman Tom Steyer, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN/New York Times at Otterbein University, Tuesday in Westerville, Ohio. JOHN MINCHILLO  |  AP
    Several statements from the candidates drew scrutiny.
  7. Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN/New York Times at Otterbein University, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, in Westerville, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) JOHN MINCHILLO  |  AP
    Impeachment dominates. Bernie Sanders looks fine. Biden defends his son. And Elizabeth Warren is finally being treated like a frontrunner.
  8. This combination of Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, photos provided by the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office shows booking photos of Lev Parnas, left, and Igor Fruman. The associates of Rudy Giuliani, were arrested on a four-count indictment that includes charges of conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and falsification of records. The men had key roles in Giuliani's efforts to launch a Ukrainian corruption investigation against Biden and his son, Hunter. (Alexandria Sheriff's Office via AP) AP
    One takeaway: there are still unanswered questions.
  9. Debris from homes destroyed by Hurricane Michael litters the ground in Mexico Beach. A year after Hurricane Michael, Bay County, Florida, is still in crisis. Thousands are homeless, medical care and housing are at a premium, and domestic violence is increasing. Michael was among the strongest hurricanes ever to make landfall in the United States. GERALD HERBERT  |  AP
    Senators for the first time seriously addressed the complaints of people in the Panhandle on Tuesday.
  10. Marijuana plants grow in a greenhouse environment in this room at the Curaleaf Homestead Cultivation Facility. This environment controls the amount of natural sunlight and artificial light the plants are exposed to, as well as the temperature. EMILY MICHOT  |  Miami Herald
    An Atlanta broker is listing one license for $40 million and the other for $55 million.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement